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Rams need to give Cam Akers consistent carries to help the offense

Sean McVay can’t hold back this time when it comes to Akers’ role in the offense

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Cam Akers has become somewhat of an enigma for the Los Angeles Rams. After a slow start to his rookie year, he ended the year strong starting five games with 625 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 145 carries. It seemed like he was poised for a big second year but all optimism was dashed after an Achilles tear in midsummer caused him to miss most of his 2021 season.

Miraculously, Akers made it back in just five and a half months to help LA during the playoffs and concluded the season with a Super Bowl victory.

Going into 2022, Akers seemed to be the clear cut starting running back over Darrell Henderson. However, at the start of the season it was Henderson getting the bulk of the carries. Akers was struggling in his pass protection and seemed to be missing holes opened by his offensive line. It looked as though he was now fighting just to get on the field.

When asked about Akers’s struggles, head coach Sean McVay said “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 continued “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.”

There was a point in 2022 where it seemed like Akers’ time with the Rams was all but done when he asked for a trade and McVay confirmed they were trying to find a trade partner. This did not end up happening and surprisingly Darrell Henderson was cut instead. Los Angeles and Akers strange relationship seemed to be on the mend as Akers took over most of the running back carries, and finished the year strong with 786 yards on 7 touchdowns, including double digit carries in the last 6 games. While those numbers won’t blow anyone away, it is impressive that 447 of those 786 yards and 6 of his 7 touchdowns came in just those last 6 games where he was getting consistent carries.

During the trade rumors, McVay’s mentioned wanting more urgency out of Akers with or without the ball, and it is a very interesting comment. This could be a call back to Akers not being up to par in pass protection, but it more so could be that Akers was unhappy losing carries to Henderson and the stats show he may have been right in wanting more consistency to his touches.

Akers seems to be a back that needs to get in a rhythm. When getting double digit carries in games, his stats are significantly better than when he’s coming on and off the field. In the game against the Denver Broncos last year, Cam Akers had his most single game carries of the season, and rewarded the workload with an impressive stat line of 118 yards and 3 touchdowns. While Denver had a rough year, they were the number 10 ranked rush defense. Akers was also was playing behind a patch work offensive line that should be improved this year.

With the likes of Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt and Zeke Elliott available, the Rams seem to content to stick with Akers. This seems even more likely with the recent signing of Sony Michel who, once formidable, only had 106 yards on 31 carries last year in a reserve role with the Los Angeles Chargers and figures to be only a depth move.

This is Cam Akers’ backfield for 2023 and he looks to be a focal point of McVay’s offense.

The Rams have stocked up at tight end, adding Hunter Long and rookie Davis Allen with veterans Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins. Young additions along the offensive line, including 2023 2nd round pick Steve Avila and 2022 2nd round pick Logan Bruss, who missed all of last year with a knee injury, have LA looking ready embrace their roots by using the run to set up their play action pass game.

This could take some pressure off an aging Stafford, who was seen in single backfield shotgun formations regularly last year, and make safeties play the run to open the back end of the defense. Having a successful run game could also be crucial for a wide receiver group that is relatively thin behind Cooper Kupp while allowing the Rams to use more two tight end sets, putting less of a need on Tutu Atwell or rookie Puka Nacua to succeed.

If Cam Akers can continue his success from his last six games, along with some of the offensive line improvements and additions, Los Angeles should have a much more effective run game for 2023.