The Los Angeles Rams offense packed a punch Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, registering 386 yards of total offense. However, one area the Rams looked oddly flat in was their ability to run the football.
The Rams used a variation of Darrell Henderson and the newly acquired Sony Michel. Although, Henderson led the charge for most of the night, receiving 49 snaps compared to Michel's three — all of which came in the second half.
While Michel got a late start in joining the Rams in training camp as a result of the recent trade, he still was expected to see his fair share of touches.
Coach Sean McVay said a handful of times leading up to the season that they don't want to put too much on Henderson as he's battled the injury bug in previous seasons. Meanwhile, he was the primary rusher for the Rams by a significant margin. He finished Week 1 with 16 attempts for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Therefore, it appeared he was the lead back for the Rams. Or perhaps that was just a Week 1 situation as Michel continues to get acclimated to the offensive system?
McVay spoke about the usage of his running backs, stating Henderson is indeed the Rams' starting running back.
"I have confidence in Sony (Michel) but the way that Darrell (Henderson) was running — the flow of the game like we talked about — Darrell's definitely established himself as our starting back," McVay said Monday. "I thought he did a great job. I thought he got stronger as the game went. But Sony's a guy that's had production in this league. It was just a weird deal the way the game unfolded."
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It sounds as if the Rams will proceed with Henderson taking the larger volume of carries. Although, he would like to get Michel more involved than what he saw in Week 1. Michel's role is bound to be expanded — but to what extent? That's a question that will continue to be seen as the season progresses.
"We had planned to get Sony in the game a bit earlier but just based on the minimal amount of snaps that we had — a lot of it for good reasons because we were scoring quickly but then we ended up having the three and out at the end of the first half," McVay said. "You'd like to be able to sustain more drives and then maybe you'll see him get some more opportunities but again that's always kind of based on how the flow of the game goes. I thought Darrell did a really good job and I was pleased with the way that he closed it out."
You can chalk up the Week 1 gameplan as one that McVay followed just as the game presented itself. McVay's goal is to get Michel more looks, but he also isn't going to force him into action if the proper situation isn't calling for his contributions.
"You can expect to see a little bit more of Sony but if the game unfolds like that, I think that we'd take a similar approach."
The Rams will hit the road to face the Colts in Week 2. Indianapolis allowed over 5 yards per carry and 140 yards in total during their season opener. The Rams could be set up nicely for a big day on the ground at Lucus Oil Stadium, where both rushers are utilized with a more balanced approach.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.