The Los Angeles Rams will be taking on the Cincinnati Bengals this Monday night. The Bengals have lost two in a row and the Rams are sitting at 1-1 after their loss to the San Francisco 49ers. It’s the NFL so both teams have plenty of talent, but the big question seems to be will Joe Burrow play? He’s a difference maker, he’s a top QB in the league and he’s paid like it. We’ve seen the Rams lose to backups before, remember Cooper Rush last year? So whether Burrow plays or not, LA should take this game seriously. There is a big difference in the NFL between a 1-2 and 2-1 record. Let’s see what head coach Sean McVay had to say about this upcoming game and some other updates on his team.
The team has had some standout performances by Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams. Steve Avila and more young Rams players have been doing well. it begs the question, can these players, particularly Nacua and Williams, continue to handle this high volume of work?
“It’s like anything else, you look at the first two weeks, Gary (I’m assuming Gary Klein) and not exclusive to Puka, there’s a couple other guys that we’ve looked at. You say OK, where are some of those spots to be able to maybe supplement their workload a little bit, and be cognizant of some of those things, to be mindful of the 17 games that we’re guaranteed.”
The team is going to want to take care of all of their players, but I also think it’s fair to say that you cannot expect some of these younger players to continue to handle the workload they have been given. The NFL season goes by fast but it certainly can feel long. I have to think that there is concern for Kyren just because of the violent nature of the running back position. Speaking of that position, the Rams have one less RB than they did a week ago.
“Sometimes you have to be able to make tough decisions, and I’m very grateful for the things that Cam did over the course of his career. I’m always gonna make decisions that I think are in the best interest of the football team. That’s not a personal indictment on him. He’s a very good player, did a lot of really good things. Sometimes you’re looking at a right situation for him, and for our team. We felt like, you know Minnesota Vikings was excited.”
McVay goes on to say that Akers knows some familiar faces for the Vikings such as Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips, both former coaches for the Rams with McVay. There are probably more details that led up to Cam being traded away. I do like to think McVay and Les Snead tried to work with Akers to go to a place that made sense for the player and the team as well. Regardless, the Akers saga with McVay and the Rams seems done.
“I’ll wish him nothing but the best.”
I do not view his time in LA as a failure. As I look at it, Cam helped this team win a Super Bowl. If that is the ultimate goal in this sport, then mission accomplished. The coach is asked if he views any part of this as a failure? I think the question is asking was it a failure that the team couldn’t work with him to stay on the team?
“I think that’s kinda an easy narrative. Like I said, I think what we’re interested in is making decisions that we feel like are in the best interest of the team and there’s a lot of layers to it, but I am grateful for Cam and I wish him nothing but the best.”
You always remember your first. Sean McVay and Cam Akers will always remember their first (and what could be their only) Super Bowl win. To the best of my knowledge that win cannot be vacated. Maybe (and probably) LA feels they have a better option in Kyren (who has looked fantastic through two weeks) and the other backs on their roster. Maybe LA will look to sign someone else. No idea about that, but the team is moving on and will need to be ready to take on Cincinnati for Week 3.
“They do an excellent job. You guys know the respect that I have for Zac (Talyor), you know for what they do in all three phases. They present a lot of issues both personnel wise and schematically. There’s a reason why they’ve been in a Super Bowl two years ago, why they were in a Conference Championship again last year.”
I understand the Bengals are 0-2. I understand that Burrow MIGHT miss the game. I also know that Ja’Marr Chase is on the team and that is only one out of a number of excellent players who have helped the Bengals have phenomenal success over the last few seasons. It’s the NFL. Every game is tough.
“You have to be ready.”
LA will need to prepare for the modern day Joe Cool in case he plays, but they’ll have to be ready for the backup Jake Browning as well.
“Browning is an excellent capable backup as well.”
We’ll all find out at some point which QB will be starting for the Bengals. For now, the Rams will need to get ready regardless of that unknown.
“I would hope that we’re able to approach it the same way, I mean, you know, Joe is a phenomenal player, but like I said, you see a lot of really good tape. There are some people that are familiar with what Browning’s done, so we gotta be ready for both guys, Ultimately this is the NFL and you gotta be ready to go.”
Rams fans can more or less enjoy their Sunday without having to worry about seeing their team lose. Once Monday night hits though it’s gameday. This will be the first Monday Night Football game for the some of LA’s younger players. Certainly the fans have watched the first couple games, but this week the entire nation could be watching. We’ll see how ready the Rams are.