While Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay planned on relying on a committee in the backfield for the 2020 NFL season, both games have wound up featuring a one-man show.
Malcolm Brown stole the show in Week 1 by setting new career highs with 18 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Dallas Cowboys. It was then Darrell Henderson’s turn to take over in Week 2 after both Brown and Cam Akers were forced to exit the game with injuries.
Henderson took full advantage of the increased workload by tallying 121 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the 37-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Although it is still be early in the season, McVay may very well have an idea of a blueprint for the backfield.
Despite Akers being named as the starter, both Brown and Henderson managed to make the biggest impact by closing the game on a strong note. McVay shared some high praise for the latter’s efforts in Week 2, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“I was really pleased with Darrell Henderson. I thought he was a real bright spot for us, making some plays in the run and the pass game,” McVay said in his postgame video conference. “That was something that (running backs) coach (Thomas) Brown and I had talked about this week. We were not surprised to see that, but it was really good for him to do that.”
Henderson didn’t feel that he was asked to do anything beyond his capabilities:
“I just went out there and played my game,” Henderson said. “I did everything they asked me to do, and just stayed consistent and stayed patient.”
Jared Goff also gave credit to Henderson for filling such an integral role under the circumstances.
“He did a great job,” Goff said. “He’s a player that we love, and love in a lot of different ways. Throw to ball to him, run the ball with him. There are certain runs we love with him. It was exciting to see him get his chance to shine a bit.”
If the first two games are any indication, the Rams will be riding the carousel at running back for the rest of the season. McVay’s feature option will likely depend on game pace and who is most effective on a weekly basis.
The injuries that both Akers and Brown suffered are not deemed to be too severe by McVay, meaning they likely will not miss very much time if any heading into Week 3 versus the Buffalo Bills. Regardless, Henderson has certainly made a compelling case to take on a lion’s share of the touches thanks to his versatility.
The pecking order for this group will likely continue to fluctuate until the offense finds a recipe for success. For now, McVay and Goff are clearly relishing in having a surplus of options.