The optimism is spewing out around the Los Angeles Rams ahead of the 2021 campaign. However, the Rams suffered a sizable loss after second-year running back Cam Akers’ torn Achilles tendon. It’s quickly led former franchise great Eric Dickerson to suggest the organization bring back a familiar face.
Rams lose Cam Akers for the 2021 season
Since the acquisition of star quarterback Matthew Stafford, the hype train continues to build around the Rams.
However, the optimism took a notable hit earlier this week after Akers suffered a torn Achilles tendon during a workout. The Rams pinned the Florida State product as the potential workhorse option for the 2021 season after a promising rookie campaign.
He finished last year as the Rams’ leading rusher with 625 yards and two touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. It included a breakout performance against the New England Patriots, where he recorded 194 total scrimmage yards. The stellar outing featured 171 rushing yards, marking the most by a rookie in a single game in franchise history since Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis in 1993 (212 yards).
Akers followed it up with 272 total scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games. It included him piling up 131 rushing yards and a touchdown in the wildcard road win against the Seattle Seahawks.
With Akers sideline, it leaves a significant void the Rams must fill in the backfield. A former franchise all-time great believes he knows a familiar face that can help immediately.
Rams legend Eric Dickerson believes the team must bring back a former All-Pro talent
The loss of Akers puts the Rams in a bit of a jam regarding figuring the backfield situation less than two months before the 2021 season.
It quickly puts forth a list of potential outside options to stabilize the running game. During a recent interview with TMZ Sports, former Rams great Eric Dickerson suggested bringing back former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley.
“That’s a no-brainer,” Dickerson. “I mean, he knows the offense, he knows this offense. He doesn’t have to come in and try and learn it.. He knows [Sean] McVay, he knows the guys on the team — that would be an easy fit.”
There is plenty of credence to the Hall of Famer’s suggestion, as the offensive verbiage likely hasn’t changed much since Gurley’s departure. The former Pro Bowler also hasn’t drawn significant interest in the open market aside from working out with the Detroit Lions.
Gurley wouldn’t have to step in as the workhorse option but rather provide stability while being a strong goal-line option. The 26-year-old is coming off a solid 2020 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons. He recorded 678 rushing yards along with nine rushing touchdowns while hauling in 25 receptions for 164 yards. Gurley is certainly far from the All-Pro talent he was during his previous stint in Los Angeles, but he still has much to offer.
However, there may be some lingering uneasiness due to the nature of his departure from Los Angeles. The team chose to cut him while taking some time to pay him the money he was owed. If the two sides can move past the previous issues, Gurley is certainly a viable option.
Preference remains first with in-house options
Although Gurley or another running back option in free agency such as Adrian Peterson is a feasible choice, the Rams will first turn to their current roster.
Darrell Henderson will likely get the first crack at the starting job, especially after a solid 2020 campaign where he recorded 624 rushing yards on 4.5 yards per attempt. The Memphis product demonstrated big-play ability behind his speed and elusiveness as a runner.
The Rams will feature either Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and rookie Jake Funk behind him. Much can certainly change in training camp and the preseason, but it looks like Los Angeles is set with what they have moving forward.