Los Angeles Rams Backfield Stays In Motion After Losing Cam Akers To A Season-Ending Injury
The Los Angeles Rams knew the backfield would have a fresh look when acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford. What they learned this week is they’ll have a new starting running back, too.
Cam Akers, L.A.’s top back and an emerging NFL standout, will miss the upcoming season after tearing his Achilles tendon in offseason workouts.
It’s devastating news for Akers and the Rams.
Akers stood out in a three-pronged Rams’ running game last year, shining above Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown. Akers paced the team with 626 rushing yards and added two touchdowns.
While Akers’ past was encouraging it was the present that was exciting for Rams coach Sean McVay in how he was primed to utilize Akers.
He saw the ex-Florida State star significantly expanding his role this year, being used in the passing game much like when the versatile Todd Gurley was a Rams staple in the past.
“I think he is an every-down back,’’ McVay said of Akers. “I think he is a special player.’’
Akers will cost the Rams $1.2 million in cap space with no dividends. Although that pales to the NFL record the Rams set this year in carrying $22.2 million in dead cap money, part of the cost for trading quarterback Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for Stafford.
McVay and the team’s personnel department are examining their options with the Rams just a week shy of reporting to training camp at the University of California, Irvine.
General manager Les Snead will be aggressive in trying to upgrade or complement the position for a season in which the Rams have Super Bowl aspirations.
Henderson, who ran for 624 yards and five scores last year, will get the first crack at replacing Akers, as Brown signed with the Miami Dolphins.
A peek into the Rams’ running back room isn’t uplifting. Other than Henderson, the roster reveals Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, Otis Anderson and Jake Funk. The foursome is hardly fearsome with a combined zero NFL carries.
If Snead goes the free-agent route, there are compelling players available. How much tread remains on their tires is the concern.
Among the unsigned are Adrian Peterson, Duke Johnson, Frank Gore and Gurley, although a reunion seems unlikely.
What’s certain is the Rams are scrabbling before McVay conducted his first team meeting. While McVay’s offense is noted for its passing it’s all predicated off a solid running game, a portion of L.A.’s attack which has been gutted.