The Los Angeles Rams had to rely on former New England Patriots cast off Sony Michel to be their leading rusher a season ago due to injuries to Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.
With Michel now on the Miami Dolphins, head coach Sean McVay and Co. are hoping that Henderson and Akers will be able to return to full health.
It’s not going too great. Both are currently sidelined to injury with no timetable to return.
“The first goal for those guys is, let’s check the box on them feeling like they can really open up. No restrictions,” McVay told reporters Monday. “I don’t know if you ever really feel great at any point moving forward, especially at running back, but we want to be smart with that.” -Sean McVay on Los Angeles Rams injury issues
The official designation is that both Akers and Henderson are dealing with “soft tissue” issues. McVay added that neither one will retun to the field until 100%. As for Akers, he played in just one game a season ago due to a torn Achilles.
These might be minor injuries in the grand scheme of things. With that said, any time a Super Bowl contender is down its top two running backs and has a star quarterback on a pitch count, it can’t be seen as a good thing.
Rams general manager Les Snead is among the most active at his position in the NFL. You better believe that he will scour the NFL free-agent market for a reinforcement. He might also look at who could be available in a trade. Below, we give you four options.
Los Angeles Rams go with internal options, including rookie Kyren Williams
A star running back during his time with Notre Dame, Williams was selected in the fifth round by Los Angeles this past spring. The dynamic back could make his preseason NFL debut on Friday after suffering a broken foot during the offseason.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Williams recorded over 2,800 total yards and 31 touchdowns in his final two seasons with the Irish. That included him catching a combined 77 passes.
A seventh-round pick last year, Jake Funk could also see increased action with Akers and Henderson sidelined. The former Maryland standout played only 20 snaps on offense in 10 games a season ago. Funk tallied 16 rushing yards in the Rams win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week.
David Johnson heads to Southern California
McVay values running backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield in his scheme. While Johnson has struggled on the ground since earning a Pro Bowl spot with the division-rival Arizona Cardinals back in 2016, he sure can make an impact in the passing game.
Throughout his seven-year career, Johnson has tallied 273 receptions for 2,758 yards while hauling in 69% of his targets. Johnson, 30, wouldn’t necessarily be a three-down back. Instead, he’d add to the Rams’ depth in the backfield on the cheap.