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A scouting report on Rams running back situation

Look for the Rams to lean on Mr. Reliable Malcolm Brown early

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Look, I get it.

You’re drafting for fantasy football and want to know the distribution of carries between Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers.

Who’s going to be on the field on third down? What player will get more touches in the red zone? Will one of them be the workhorse back?

Well, I’m not the play caller for the Los Angeles Rams -- that’s Sean McVay, and he hasn’t handed over the call sheet.

That said, the best I can do here is provide some info gleaned from talking with running backs coach Thomas Brown, with some numbers sprinkled in.

Brown had this to say when asked about a couple important things he values in a player.

“I tell my guys every day there’s two things you can control, that’s your effort and your attitude,” Brown said. “You can’t control my attitude. You can’t control other players or coaches’ attitude. You can control what you bring to the table every single day.

“We all have different things that we deal with outside of football, but being able to be locked in and be present every single day and kind of maximize the opportunities that you have is one thing I preach to my guys.”

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Look, coaches value running backs that can pass protect in critical situations so the quarterback does not get killed, have a nose for the end zone and take care of the football.

Expect Brown to be on the field on third down and in red zone. Brown had a career-high five touchdowns last season on 15 red zone touches. Brown has one lost fumble on 197 carries.

Akers could be a guy who is on the field when the Rams play up-tempo and things are simplified from a play-calling perspective, or the Rams want to exploit an individual matchup. You might also see Akers in the game on early downs when the McVay wants to pound the football.

Running backs coach Thomas Brown was gracious enough to provide a scouting report on all five of the runners in his position group.

Malcolm Brown: “I call him Mr. Reliable. He’s a very reliable guy, and he does a very good job of every single day kind of setting a tone for our group. He’s obviously a veteran player that understands the ins and outs of our league. And he kind of sets the tone from a work ethic standpoint and how to be successful at this level. Malcolm is a one-cut, downhill guy. He’s not a huge in-space, wiggle guy. But he does a great job playing behind his pads. He can be very effective in the pass game. He has a great understanding and knowledge when it comes to third-down ball, and when it comes to pass protection and understanding what we do. It kind of gets complicated for us on third down when it comes to our 2-Jet and 3-Jet protection package.”

Cam Akers: “He’s a young rookie who is super-talented and very explosive. He’s got a ways to go from a knowledge standpoint, but I’ll tell you what, this guy comes to work every day and learns from his mistakes. Our defense has been tough to go against, and it’s going to be great working with him preparation-wise for the upcoming season. I’m really excited about his development, watching him learn and grow. And having a guy like Malcolm has been great for him to be around.”

Darrell Henderson Jr.: “He’s a super explosive guy through the hole, but also being a load. We kind of call him a bowling ball at times, once he gets rolling, being a hard guy to bring down.”

John Kelly: “He’s kind of similar to Malcolm as far as a physicality standpoint. I think they are both kind of one-cut, downhill guy and he’s had a really productive camp so far.

Xavier Jones: “He’s made some strides the last week or so. Xavier had limited reps at the start of camp, but had some opportunities here recently and has made the most of them, kind of showcasing his abilities in this last scrimmage that we had. He has the ability to be a change-of-direction guy, play with the ball in his hands, and like Cam he’s still a rookie that’s developing and growing.”