Rams coach Sean McVay entered the 2020 season with a three-man rotation at tailback. One of them stood out last season.
Rookie Cam Akers gradually emerged as the best of the bunch. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, McVay made it clear that Akers could become the franchise’s next workhorse tailback.
“I thought he did a great job,” McVay said regarding Akers. “Really if it wasn’t for that setback that Cam had in the Philly game, I think that rib injury kind of set him back a little bit. You saw Darrell Henderson step up, Malcolm Brown was really consistent throughout the year, but Cam hit his stride at the right moments. You could see he’s always had a real and authentic confidence, but then as he’s getting more and more comfortable for the different ways that we were able to utilize him, I think he can come alive in the pass game. I think he can continue to play at a high level.
“Really, I think he’s an every-down back. I think he’s a special player. I think that’s a real credit to Cam, but also [running back coach] Thomas Brown’s leadership and just pouring into him day in and day out and him being receptive to that. Then you see the benefits and how much it kind of came to life towards the latter part of the season and we expect them to pick up where he left off.”
The Rams’ offense under McVay performed at its best when running back Todd Gurley became a largely unstoppable force. It made Gurley the 2017 NFL offensive player of the year. By late 2018, however, Gurley’s knee issue began to limit his effectiveness. After 2019, the Rams were ready to move on.
That opened the door for Akers, a second-round pick in 2020 from Florida State. As he develops, Akers could become the spark that the Rams’ offense has lacked since the best days of Todd Gurley.