Expectations are once again high for the Los Angeles Rams coming into the 2022 regular season. They won the Super Bowl only seven months ago and have a roster strong enough to defend that title.
One of the players that were expected to be a big part of their game plans was running back Cam Akers. Akers made a surprise return to the field for the 2021 regular-season finale and played in every postseason game after rupturing his Achilles in July.
With a full offseason and being another year removed from the injury, Akers should be able to get closer to the explosive player he showed he was capable of being during his rookie season. He took over the lead back role near the end of the campaign and looked great.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see that in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. Somewhat surprisingly, it was actually Darrell Henderson who was pegged as the starting running back. While that wasn’t too surprising, the workload that Akers received throughout the evening certainly shocked a lot of people, including Akers.
Akers was on the field for only 12 offensive snaps, playing only 18 percent of them while Henderson was on the field for 55 snaps, playing 82 percent of them. In his limited action, Akers carried the ball three times for zero yards and was not targeted in the passing game.
Head coach Sean McVay said that he needed to see Akers play with more urgency, something that Akers said was discussed in the offseason. He certainly wasn’t expecting it to lead to the limited role that he had for the Rams against the Bills.
“If Coach don’t think I’m being urgent, then [I need to] be more urgent,” Akers said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
“When asked what he thought McVay was referencing when he cited a need for increased urgency, Akers said, “Probably more so in practice, I would think. Not in a game, obviously, because that was the first game. Probably practice.
“Whatever Coach says, I’m going to take it and I’m going to learn from it. Whatever you want to say. I’m going to take it and learn from it and go from there. Whether I think it’s right or not, maybe I’m not always right.”
Akers did say he felt he played decently against Buffalo but acknowledged that there is always room to improve. McVay would certainly agree with that, as it seems the head coach feels Akers has some work to do before taking on a bigger role on the field.
For now, there seems to be a huge gap between Henderson and Akers. Henderson dominated not only the playing time but touches as well, receiving 13 carries and catching all five of his targets. Akers will still have a role, but it will take some time for it to grow into one he believes he is capable of handling.