The LA Rams received devastating news today when they learned that RB Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles injury that will end his 2021 season. All eyes will be on head coach Sean McVay to see how he replaces his top running back from the 2020 stretch run.
Cam Akers Impact
When I think of Cam Akers, the first performance that comes to mind is his dominant day against my New England Patriots. Compiling 194 total yards against a Bill Belichick-led defense will raise a lot of eyes and that performance was just the start. He finished the regular season with 748 total yards and three touchdowns but he saved his most impressive performances for the playoffs.
Any head coach and quarterback would take 645 rushing yards starting from week 13 on and two touchdowns in playoff matchups against Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers in a heartbeat. Akers showed impressive power, speed, and elusiveness throughout his rookie season. He simply was a big play machine whenever McVay called upon him. His physicality jumps off the screen.
How will Rams move forward without Cam Akers?
Moving forward, the Rams will turn to the combination of Darrell Henderson, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and Jake Funk to do the heavy lifting in Cam Akers’ place. Henderson is the only one with previous NFL experience, as he has 177 career carries for 771 yards and 5 touchdowns. Additionally, he has caught 20 passes for 196 yards and touchdown in two NFL seasons. This year will provide a great opportunity for him to prove himself and potentially set himself up for a big payday in the future.
Rams fans want to see a lot more of what he did against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 2 last season. If he struggles to live up to the pressure of replacing Akers, the pressure will fall to one of the rookie backs drafted this year and who knows how that will work out. Until I see Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and Jake Funk play in real games starting in the preseason, it is hard to judge how well they can do in the Rams offense. This position will be the center of attention all summer long.
On the other hand, one option they should consider exploring is free agency. One of the biggest names on the market at moment is Adrian Peterson. AP is a generational talent at the half-back position and the numbers are jaw-dropping. He currently stands at 4,820 career rushing yards, which is just 450 yards short of passing the great Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time rushing list. His 118 rushing touchdowns are just six away from Marcus Allen’s 123 scores, which ranks third on the all-time rushing touchdown list. Something tells me despite all those numbers, he wants nothing more than to compete for the Super Bowl, which has eluded him his entire career.
With stars like Matthew Stafford, Robert Woods, Jalen Ramsey, and Aaron Donald on this team, this should be an attractive destination for any free agent running back and Peterson would fit in very well. Despite being 38 years old, he still has a ton of physicality in his running style and can potentially serve as a mentor for LA’s young backfield. Veteran leadership at that position is something that will benefit the entire offense and potentially take them to new heights if all goes well.
By: Whitney Dowds CruelFan.com