A year removed from moving on from a Pro Bowl talent in Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is pleased with the production from the running game.
The Rams are averaging 140 yard a game, No. 7 in the NFL. L.A.’s 698 rushing yards through five games is the most for the Rams at this point of the season during since 1987, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
With Gurley now playing for the Atlanta Falcons after his release this offseason, McVay has relied on a running back by committee approach of veteran Malcolm Brown, second-year pro Darrell Henderson Jr. and rookie Cam Akers.
Henderson leads the Rams with 260 rushing yards on 58 carries (4.5 yards per rush) with four total touchdowns. Brown has 213 yards on 53 carries (4.0 yards per rush) and two touchdowns, while Akers has added 113 rushing yards on 26 carries (4.3 per rush).
“I just think it presents a complete backfield, a three-headed monster doing what we do, and that’s making plays,” Akers said. “When we’re all together, we feed off each other.”
On Monday McVay once again reiterated how good of a job running backs coach Thomas Brown has done to get all three runners ready to perform to their potential on game days.
“All three of those guys will be up,” McVay said. “Exactly how that workload is distributed is kind of something that we get a feel for as the week unfolds and then really in a lot of instances, as the game is unfolding. But it is a good thing -- champagne problems, like we like to say.”
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Brown has 10 carries for 31 yards and two scores in the red zone this season, as McVay has used the veteran in crucial situations like near the goal line and on third down because of his knowledge of the offense and ball security.
Brown also has been used a season-high 57 times on third down.
Henderson has been the most explosive back, with two runs of 20-plus yards including a long of 40, along with a 28-yard reception.
“I have to take advantage of every opportunity I get,” Henderson said. “Having three backs back there that can do everything is only going to make the defense’s job harder. It gives us more options, so it’s good for us. You’ve got three dominant backs.”
Akers returned to the lineup over the weekend after missing two weeks with a rib injury, showing what he can do late in the game by breaking out for a 46-yard run against the Washington Football Team.
However, Akers was caught from behind by Washington defensive end Montez Sweat on the play, receiving so gentle ribbing by McVay.
“I thought he had a couple of tough runs and then he got hawked by Montez Sweat,” joked McVay said. “I’m not going let him live that one down. That was a great run be able to get that going.”