On Monday, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay spoke with the media on his final thoughts for the preseason Week 1 matchup against the LA Chargers and he was visibly not thrilled when asked about the running game on Saturday night.
“The run game, it was sloppy. It wasn't very good, it didn't look clean. There was a couple opportunities but for the most part I didn't think it was very good and that’s a credit to their defense, they did some good things but there’s a lot of guys that haven't gotten those full speed reps before. That’s no excuse, we have high expectations for those guys but just the overall continuity, we always talk about it takes all 11 in the run game. There was instances where individual guys did a nice job but there might be a certain block, or a certain angle, or a way that we’re fitting a block based on where the backs landmark is that wasn't in unison. I think that’s why you didn't see the consistency from snap to snap and that’s why I think we were not able to sustain some drives.”
Like Sean McVay stated, “it takes all 11” to have a successful rushing attack in the NFL and the backup offensive line was a huge concern when it came to run blocking. They were getting little-to-no push up front every time Bryce Perkins or Devlin Hodges would hand the ball off.
It seemed as if as soon as the ball made contact with the running back’s hands, there would be a defender in the backfield. Putting your backs in a better position to find success is something the new offensive line coach Kevin Carberry needs to implement for the depth of the Rams offensive line.
#61 Meredith played well in pass pro, but not sure what he’s doing here. pic.twitter.com/SGiMzde9a8— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) August 17, 2021
The backup offensive line was getting little to no push up front for the run game. pic.twitter.com/hPNq6H9Gf6— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) August 17, 2021
The LA Rams had three running backs in the backfield on Saturday night, while undrafted free agent Otis Anderson was primarily working with the special teams unit. The leading rusher was not any of those three, it was Perkins. When your leading rusher is your QB, you know something needs to get fixed. No offense to Perkins, who looked like an absolute stud in the run game on Saturday.
None of the running backs eclipsed 25 yards either and that’s something that we need to see improvement on against the Las Vegas Raiders this Saturday night if we want to gain comfort in knowing what kind of depth will be behind Darrell Henderson in Week 1.
If none of the backups look capable, the Rams may need to scour the upcoming cuts on other teams.
Here were the final game statistics for each back:
- Xavier Jones - Seven carries for 21 yards and an average of 3.0 YPC
- Raymond Calais - Seven carries for 14 yards and an average of 2.0 YPC
- Jake Funk - Five carries for 12 yards and an average of 2.4 YPC
Having an efficient run game keeps the defense honest and opens up a plethora of play calls in conjunction with a good mix of play action for coach McVay and the offensive staff. Jones broke a few tackles and sure passed the eyeball test, so an increase in his workload this week would be beneficial to get an exact idea of what he can bring to the table.
Having good depth behind Henderson is vital as he’s been going through injury issues every season since he’s been drafted. They’re still working through what Henderson’s workload might be, McVay said this about his workload in late July:
“I don't want to say pitch count, but the best way to utilize him is to have the big picture in mind. He’s our most established guy without a doubt. I think we’re excited to see who develops and who really establishes themselves behind him.”
The next two games will be telling on who establishes themselves from the group behind Henderson. We all know the mastermind on defense that coach Brandon Staley is for the Chargers, and maybe that had something to do with the lack of production as well. More importantly, how many carries will Jones, Funk, and Calais get against the Raiders and will they be able to prove enough during those opportunities to bring stability to the position moving forward?
Or is it going to be sloppy for the second time?