As we all know by any now, the Los Angeles Rams was going into the offseason with high hopes and expectations. They were gearing to be the second team in NFL history to host, play, and win the Super Bowl in their own stadium just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did last season. That hope and expectation took a severe hit as on July 20, news was reported that leading Running Back, Cam Akers torn his Achilles training and will miss the 2021 season.
The week of the Super Bowl as the Bucs was getting ready to face the Kansas City Chiefs, the LA Rams traded starting Quarterback Jared Goff and a couple of First-Round Picks to the Detroit Lions for QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford coming to LA and being the QB for this Rams offense was something that people had high expectations for because of head coach, Sean McVay, the wide receiving crop featuring Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods with lead back Cam Akers coming off of a good rookie campaign. But a torn Achilles has dimmer the Rams hope a bit. Nevertheless, the Rams as it stands right now, are going into training camp with all eyes on the running back roster as July is set to begin on July 28. How will the Rams sort out the RB position now that Akers is out? Let's dive in.
Leading Back: Darrell Henderson Jr.
Leading back going into training camp and the season will be Darrell Henderson Jr. going into his third year from Memphis. Henderson Jr. has played a vital role in the Rams offense in his first two seasons in the NFL. Pretty much Henderson Jr. is the only RB on the roster with playing experiences at the position. He has career of 177 rushing attempts for 771 yards rushing, averaging 4.4 yards per carry with five touchdowns on the ground. Also has 20 receptions for 196 receiving yards with a receiving touchdown. No matter what the Rams with the RB roster going forward, Darrell Henderson Jr. will be the starting back at the begin of the season.
The Other Backs on the Roster
With Darrell Henderson Jr. being the leading back now, the fight for second and third-string RB positions is in question and the Rams have four guys fighting for those spots and make the 53-man roster by September. Three of the four guys are Raymond Calais, Jake Funk and Otis Anderson Jr. that we are looking at mostly
Raymond Calais, the second year pro from Louisiana-Lafayette is the only option RB with any type of NFL experiences. Mainly a special teamer, Calais has had opportunities in the returning game for the Rams. Seven kick returns for 152 yards on an average of 21.5 yards per return. Yet there is very little we know about Calais because he has never took any snaps in the backfield, but known for his speed can be meal ticket to game action. Well Raymond Calais should have somewhat of an advantage over the other two guys, but as we seen in recently years experiences doesn't mean as much as it once did.
In this past NFL Draft, the Rams did select an RB in the 7th-Round out of the University of Maryland, Jake Funk. Funk's pick was interesting because the lost of Malcom Brown in free agency the Rams felt that a RB could be used as an third string behind Akers (out) and Henderson Jr. The 5'10, 205-pound rookie has a similar build to Akers and Henderson Jr. so you can see why McVay drafted him. Funk left Maryland with a career of 1102 scrimmage yards while averaging 7 yards per touch with 13 total touchdowns. Not eye-popping numbers , but coming off an torn ACL in his Junior year, Funk returned his Senior year was named to the All-Big Ten Third Team. During his senior year, Funk had 60 carries for 516 yards and three touchdowns in the ground and through the air, 10 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Otis Anderson Jr.
Now for the undrafted rookie out the University of Central Florida, Otis Anderson Jr. Anderson Jr. was an electrifying RB at UCF. Finishing his UCF career as eighth all-time in all purpose yards with 3,708 and in touchdowns with 27. His senior year down in Orlando, Anderson Jr. finished with 125 carries for 687 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Also had 14 receptions for 79 yards through the air. He earned second-team All-AAC honors. His speed and agility makes hard to tackle and catch in the open field. He has showed in college to play running back, wide receiver, and punt returner. He has scored at least one touchdown in all three position. Otis Anderson Jr. along with Sean McVay's offensive genius, can be a real threat for the Rams offense with Matthew Stafford at the helm.
The fourth man in the RB group is Xavier Jones from SMU. Jones is going into his second year as a pro. Mainly a special teamer like Raymond Calais but didn't have the opportunities to do much in the return game. Only one kick return for four yards. There isn't much to go off of when it comes to Jones, but as stated earlier training camp begins on July 28.
Rams' Training Camp is July 28-August 10. There will 10 open practices during training camp for fans to be in attendance. We are just 50 days away from the Rams hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football opening week.