Earlier this week, Cam Akers said everyone would see Thursday night how healthy is. Health isn’t an issue; maximizing his opportunities is.
Coach Sean McVay challenged the running back to do just that after Akers played only 12 snaps in the Rams’ opener against the Bills.
“No matter who you’re talking about, you want to see guys do the little things the right way, compete with and without the ball,” McVay said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN. “There were some instances where there were some positive things and some things that he can do better, but we want to see just an increased level of urgency and accountability snap in and snap out from him.”
Akers had three carries for no yards. Starter Darrell Henderson played 54 snaps and ran for 47 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes for 26 yards.
With Williams out 6-8 weeks, the Rams will need Akers to backup Henderson.
McVay said he knows what Akers is “capable of,” which is why he’s confident Akers will be “that guy that we’ve all seen at the right moments as this season continues to progress.”
“We’ve all seen how talented and what a special player this guy’s capable of being,” McVay said. “And I want to see him reach his highest potential. And that’s really all there is to it. It’s not about anything other than when he and Darrell [Henderson] are playing at a high level, I feel really good about those two guys at running back for us.
“And the opportunities were minimal. There were some things that within each of those individual plays that I think that we can be better collectively, starting with me, then to the players around him, but also with Cam. And so it’s more of a reflection of the confidence that I know what he can be and I’m confident that he’ll be that guy that we’ve all seen at the right moments as this season continues to progress. And that’s our job to help get it out of him.”
Akers missed most of last season after tearing his Achilles, returning in time to play the regular-season finale as well as the team’s four postseason games. In the 2021 postseason, he rushed for 172 yards and caught eight passes for 76 yards. He didn’t look like he did in 2020 when he had 156 touches for 748 yards and three touchdowns.