The Los Angeles Rams have managed to keep their high-octane offense afloat despite injuries to their backfield.
The Rams were without both Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson for sizable portions of the 2021 season, though both running backs were able to play in Super Bowl LVI. Heading into 2022, both will have roles in the offense but Akers figures to establish himself as the lead back.
However, both backs have hit a snag during the preseason as head coach Sean McVay said they’re dealing with soft tissue injuries, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“They’re not full speed,” McVay said. “And so until they’re up to full speed, we’re not going to have them practice. It’s really kind of with (Vice President, Sports Medicine & Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group. Soft tissue things, it’s always a difficult thing because you don’t want to ever push somebody, and that’s where they’ve got to do a good job of communicating to us. But when we go, we’ve got to practice full-speed. We can’t just get out there and be three-quarters and tempo it, that’s not how we get better.
“The first goal for those guys is, let’s check the box on them, feeling like they can really open up, no restrictions.”
Los Angeles travels to Cincinnati next week for joint practices and a preseason game against the Bengals and McVay said the two running backs will be left to work on individual drills with the training staff while the team’s young running backs Kyren Williams and Jake Funk get a majority of the reps in practice:
“But until they’re able to be full speed in the team setting, we’re going to be smart with them,” McVay said. “You want those guys out here, but it’s allowing Kyren Williams to get reps and Jake Funk that they wouldn’t get otherwise.”
The Rams know that they’ll need Akers and Henderson as healthy and fresh as possible for the upcoming season, so whatever the team can do to make that happen should be their top priority over the next couple weeks.
In the meantime though, Williams and Funk have a nice opportunity to show what they can do in practice.