You can never be certain about how Sean McVay will divide carries between running backs. That’s something that became apparent as soon as Todd Gurley was no long the clear number one in the backfield. Last season, McVay routinely had to change the hot hand at running back depending on injuries, situation, and performance.
There was no way to guess in Week 2 who would be the lead back in Week 3, Week 7, and definitely not Week 12, when finally Cam Akers had become the unquestioned leader in the room for the LA Rams.
That was no longer an option for the Rams when Akers went out for the year with an Achilles tear, and LA had further concerns with depth after losing Raymond Calais and Xavier Jones too. Darrell Henderson became the only running back on the roster with any real NFL experience and a late camp trade for Sony Michel became an inevitability.
One that the Rams may have been lucky to pull off when they did given the number of running back injuries we’ve seen around the league since then.
But Michel was hardly anywhere to be found in Week 1, getting only three snaps against the Chicago Bears, with Henderson enjoying a career-high in playing time. Many expect Michel to become a bigger part of the offense after he’s spent more time with the team and the playbook, but McVay made it clear on Friday that he’s happy with where the team is at with Henderson as the number one running back:
The first half didn’t really even represent (Henderson) getting into the flow of the game because we had so few touches in the run game, but you do want to be able to say, Hey, if we’re able to sustain drives, be able to get some things off, could you expect to see Sony? That’s a possibility, but Darrell’s a guy that’s done a really nice job and I was really pleased with how he got stronger as the game went on.”
McVay said that he has “confidence” that he can utilize Michel if need be, but that he’s perfectly happy with the job that Henderson did in Week 1 and that they’d like to give him more opportunities moving forward.
For those wondering if Sony Michel is going to creep into the backfield snaps this week, the answer couldn’t be more clear ... Maybe?
But McVay wouldn’t go as far as to say that LA has any need for Michel at this time.