When the Los Angeles Rams take the field next Thursday to begin their Super Bowl title defense, they’ll have their full starting backfield in the lineup. Head coach Sean McVay told reporters on Friday that both Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are “good to go” for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Henderson spent much of last season operating as Los Angeles’ lead back or splitting time with Sony Michel, as Akers worked his way back from an Achilles tear suffered during camp. Henderson also dealt with injury issues during the season, which allowed Michel to take on a larger role than he had at the beginning of the season.
Akers made a miraculously quick recovery from the Achilles tear to participate in the team’s playoff run, but he was largely ineffective as a runner. He totaled just 175 yards on 75 carries — an average of just 2.3 per tote — and did not find the end zone.
Heading into last offseason, it seemed as though Akers was set to be a Todd Gurley-style bell cow back for the 2021 Rams coming off his strong finish to the 2020 campaign. The injury obviously changed those plans, and this offseason. McVay has made it clear that both Akers and Henderson will have sizable roles in the offense.
The Rams did not do as much play-action passing during the first year of the Matthew Stafford era as they had previously done under McVay, but it is still a significant part of their offense. Having both of their starter-quality backs in the fold should help that part of the passing attack remain highly effective.