Generally, the first couple days of NFL training camps are when the onslaught of injuries takes place. Unfortunately for us, the injury bug has decided to make an early appearance this year. Los Angeles Rams second-year running back and massive breakout candidate Cam Akers is done for the year after tearing his Achilles while training off-site.
This sucks for the Rams and their fans, who were expecting big things from Akers this year. The Rams just shared a promotional picture of Akers all suited up last week. They were clearly excited about what he was going to contribute to the team this year.
From a logistical standpoint, the Rams technically don’t have to pay Akers for this coming season’s lost wages since the injury took place off-site, but the belief is that they will, especially considering Akers is still on his rookie contract. He would have been owed $890,000 this season, and with Akers figuring to be a big part of their plans for the next few years at an incredibly reasonable cost, it would be wise to not stir the pot.
The Rams now need to address their backfield. Specifically, how that backfield will look for newly acquired quarterback Matthew Stafford. The next man up on the depth chart is Darrell Henderson, who averaged 4.5 yards per carry for the team last season. That’s a big concern, though — Henderson only has 20 receptions for the Rams over his first two seasons, and head coach Sean McVay likes throwing the ball to his running backs. Behind Henderson are four running backs that have never logged an NFL carry or reception — second-year backs Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais, and rookies Otis Anderson and Jake Funk.
It would be shocking if the Rams didn’t add someone else into the fold, so here’s a thought. How about a reunion with Todd Gurley? Now a free agent, they could bring him back to a system that he knows and understands, and allow him to work in a timeshare capacity with Henderson. Yes, there are major questions about his health and the status of his knees, but if he can give the team 8-10 touches per game instead of a full 20-plus workload, maybe it’ll be enough to preserve him throughout the season. Some other options on the market right now are Duke Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, or perhaps Bryce Love, a young back who never got going due to injuries.
Whomever it is, I would be shocked if the Rams backfield doesn’t see an addition of some kind. Meanwhile, Stafford will be in a position to carry this offense, and McVay might need to rely on his arm more than he was hoping to.