If you take a look at statistics summaries for LA Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr., you do not see any pause in his NFL career in terms of missing a season, or producing for other NFL offenses, The Rams have had a reversal of thought, of sorts, in their willingness to part ways with former players. The Rams reunited with DB John Johnson III. The Rams did just try to re-sign their former backup quarterback John Wolford, but he opted to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That brings us to the LA Rams, and to the fact that the LA Rams had to weigh whether or not to bring back Henderson. After two games of being activated from the Rams practice squad for game day in two consecutive weeks, Henderson has finally been re-signed the the 53-man Rams roster. The hiatus of his running for the Rams that began after Week 11 in 2022 finally ended on Week 7 in 2023.
Now, it appears that the Rams will stick with Henderson for the duration of the 2023 NFL season. In two games this season, Henderson had the opportunity to play his way onto the Rams roster. That is exactly what happened as the Rams have now signed him to the Rams roster.
But will that make much of a difference for the rest of the season?
Let's road test the Rams RBs
The arrival of Darrell Henderson Jr was a result of the LA Rams simultaneously losing the Rams top three running backs so far this season. The Rams traded away RB Cam Akers, and then lost RB Kyren Williams and RB Ronnie Rivers simultaneously.
To augment the Rams RB room, the Rams signed RB Myles Gaskin to the active roster off the Vikings practice squad. But his unfamiliarity with the Rams offense has stuck him in limbo so far. The omission of rookie running back Zach Evans is a bit concerning, but something we will address in a future article. For all practical purposes
The Rams also signed Darrell Henderson Jr. to the team's practice squad. Due to his familiarity with the team, and the team's familiarity with him, he was elevated to the role of competing for the Rams alongside RB Royce Freeman. So how did they do?
- Darrell Henderson Jr.
- Week 7 - DH - 18 runs | 61 yards | 1 TD | 3.4 YPC | 1 of 2 catches | 5 yards | 39 snaps
- Week 8 - DH - 12 runs | 31 yards | 0 TD | 2.6 YPC | 3 of 3 catches | 54 yards | 29 snaps
- Royce Freeman
- Week 7 - RF - 12 runs | 66 yards | 0 TD | 5.5 YPC | 0 receptions
- Week 8 - RF - 9 runs | 44 yards | 1 TD | 4.9 YPC | 0 receptions
The initial presence of Henderson in the offense seemed to be a spark as the Rams appeared to have a promising surge of their ground attack. But after two weeks, is there already a concerning lull? Of course, part of the challenges with Week 8 is the fact that the Rams struggled with a very forgettable game against the Dallas Cowboys.
But despite the plunge of yardage, the more concerning factor is the plunge of effectiveness. Averaging 3.4 yards per carry is the floor of what you want from a veteran running back. But Henderson could only muster 2.6 yards per carry. While understandable, Henderson's 3.1 yards per attempt this season is the lowest of his career. Conversely, Freeman's 5.2 yards per carry is the best average of his NFL career.
But do you notice the other trend? Freeman is no threat to catch a pass in this Rams offense, while Henderson absolutely is.