McVay touts second-year running back Cam Akers as an 'every down back'

  • To unlock all of features of Rams On Demand please take a brief moment to register. Registering is not only quick and easy, it also allows you access to additional features such as live chat, private messaging, and a host of other apps exclusive to Rams On Demand.

ROD-BOT

News Feeder
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
521
McVay touts second-year running back Cam Akers as an 'every down back'

One of the Rams' biggest questions last offseason would be how the team would replace Todd Gurley, the team's bell cow since 2015. As promised, Sean McVay said that the team would have more of a running back by committee approach in 2020. That was certainly the case, as Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Malcom Brown combined to rush for 1,668 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Rams' success on the ground was one of the reasons for the team's return to the playoffs after a one year absence.

While the Rams will likely continue to spread the wealth among their backs, McVay recently touted Akers, who overcame a slow start to lead the Rams in rushing as a rookie. After just 26 carries during the season's first seven games, Akers finished the regular season with 625 rushing yards on 145 carries. His 171-yard effort propelled Los Angeles to a 23-3 win over the Patriots in Week 13. Akers' 131 yards and a score helped the Rams upset the Seahawks in the wild-card round. In a losing effort, Akers rushing for 90 yards and a score on 18 carries against the Packers in the divisional round.

"You could see he's always had a real and authentic confidence, but then as he's getting more and more comfortable for the different ways that we were able to utilize him, I think he can come alive in the pass game," McVay said earlier this offseason, via Stu Jackson of the Rams' team website. "I think he can continue to play at a high level. Really, I think he's an every-down back. I think he's a special player."

Leading up to the draft, Akers was touted as one of the best running backs in the draft. But despite a solid combine performance, Akers was the fourth running back selected, behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D'Andre Swift, and Jonathan Taylor. He was picked just ahead of J.K. Dobbins, who was taken by the Ravens with the 55th pick. While Edwards-Helaire and Taylor enjoyed instant success, Akers, Swift and Dobbins took a while to get going. For Akers, things started to come together midway through the season.

"That's when I started to get a good grasp on the run, the concepts, what the coaches wanted, how everything was being blocked," Akers said earlier this offseason. "I kind of settled in and played football and it showed."

Akers' rapid improvement was noticed by his teammates, specifically Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

"He just got his opportunities and he took advantage of them," Ramsey said. "He got unleashed and he did his thing. (It's) something that I always knew (with) who he was, he had it in him. I can't wait to see him grow from here, and I just pray that he can remain healthy and lead the offense, because we need him."

He's not the flashiest running back, but Akers possesses a unique blend of power and agility. He also has enough speed to turn a moderate gain into a big run. Akers also has patience as well as the ability to hit the hole once it is developed.


View: https://twitter.com/nfl/status/1340046680989855745?s=21

"This guy's going to be a big-time player," McVay said. "He got more and more confidence as the season went (on). I have tremendous confidence in him, and I think (running backs coach) Thomas Brown did such a great job being able to help him continue to mature throughout the season. I think this guy has an unbelievably bright future."

Akers will likely be more involved in the passing game in 2021 after catching just 11 passes as a rookie. A more versatile Akers might be a necessity, given that Brown, receiver Josh Reynolds and tight end Gerald Everett are slated to enter free agency. And while a heavier workload presents its own unique set of challenges, Akers appears ready and willing to accept that role.

"Ultimately, I was able to grow as a young man and as a player, and that's all you can really ask for," Akers said of his first season. "When you know you went out on the field and put everything you got on the line, that's all you can really ask for, is to grow and learn from wherever you went wrong. You want to build on that."
 

dieterbrock

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
2020 ROD Survivor Champion
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
16,060
I dont imagine my opinion will be a popular one, but I am more excited about seeing Akers next season than I am with any other move that has been made.
Stafford will be great, not knocking the move, but Akers ascension to the top tier of RB is really going to be fun to watch, and what I see as the piece that makes this team a Championship Contender
 

Dog

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
4,914
In the first run on that video against Washington, who was tha clown announcer who went on and on about Ron Rivera, then transitioned to Alex Smith?

He sure hit all the keywords in one breath didnt he? Cancer, Covid, adversity, overcoming injury. Great way to color commentate on Akers impressive run is to talk about everything but Akers. lol ass clown
 
  • 2Like
Reactions: Merlin and thirteen28

FrantikRam

Hall of Fame
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
3,354
I dont imagine my opinion will be a popular one, but I am more excited about seeing Akers next season than I am with any other move that has been made.
Stafford will be great, not knocking the move, but Akers ascension to the top tier of RB is really going to be fun to watch, and what I see as the piece that makes this team a Championship Contender

I agree. Going to be a lot of fun watching him. Were in so much better shape at RB than weve been in years - Akers is the dynamic three down back, but Hendo is a legit good backup
 

jap

Legend
Joined
Jan 12, 2013
Messages
5,983
I certainly agree with the comparisons to LeVeon Bell and Marshall as far as using his bockers. However, his ability to consistently spin or lunge forward for an extra 3-5 yards is reminiscent of another great RB - Denver's former RB great, Terrell Davis, who consistently picked up another 3-4 yards after first contact with a defender.
 
  • 2Like
Reactions: Faceplant and hotanez

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
I dont imagine my opinion will be a popular one, but I am more excited about seeing Akers next season than I am with any other move that has been made.
Stafford will be great, not knocking the move, but Akers ascension to the top tier of RB is really going to be fun to watch, and what I see as the piece that makes this team a Championship Contender
Now imagine him playing with an improved OL and a big FB ?
 
  • Cheers
Reactions: hotanez

dieterbrock

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
2020 ROD Survivor Champion
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
16,060
Now imagine him playing with an improved OL and a big FB ?
Adding a FB is completely different offense than what McVay runs, I dont want to see that. I would like to see Akers in the 2017/2018 Gurley role, and expect to be back to more of that spread type than to convert to an old school I formation
 

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
Adding a FB is completely different offense than what McVay runs, I dont want to see that. I would like to see Akers in the 2017/2018 Gurley role, and expect to be back to more of that spread type than to convert to an old school I formation
Well, instead of employing a poorly blocking TE on occasion as we sometimes do, a FB/in-line TE type may have better success. I'm also thinking back to McVays first draft in 2017, where he selected the too-small FB Sam Rogers, so there must have been some rhyme or reason for it ...

The Rams might also be able to save a position at RB/TE by making a 4'th RB/HB a FB/TE instead. jmo.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UisnGvMGEvw
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Merlin

dieterbrock

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
2020 ROD Survivor Champion
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
16,060
Well, instead of employing a poorly blocking TE on occasion as we sometimes do, a FB/in-line TE type may have better success. I'm also thinking back to McVays first draft in 2017, where he selected the too-small FB Sam Rogers, so there must have been some rhyme or reason for it ...
The Rams might also be able to save a position at RB/TE by making a 4'th RB/HB a FB/TE instead. jmo.
Well, whatever rhyme or reason, he was a mere 6th rounder who didnt make the team, sat on practice squad and didnt even make it to camp the next season. And they havent come close to a FB since, so I'm not seeing how that changes now. I'm good with getting a TE who can suit up for 16 games, block, and catch some passes though. Tommy Tremble would look pretty good in Horns. And if he's not available, teammate Ben Skowronek would make a solid sleeper pick. Though he played WR in college, his skills surely translate to HBack-TE
 

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
Well, whatever rhyme or reason, he was a mere 6th rounder who didnt make the team, sat on practice squad and didnt even make it to camp the next season. And they havent come close to a FB since, so I'm not seeing how that changes now. I'm good with getting a TE who can suit up for 16 games, block, and catch some passes though. Tommy Tremble would look pretty good in Horns. And if he's not available, teammate Ben Skowronek would make a solid sleeper pick. Though he played WR in college, his skills surely translate to HBack-TE
While I prefer Ben Mason, Tommy Tremble works for me as well, and both of them are likely 6'th or later round picks imo. I don't see a late round TE making the 53 roster, or at least it will likely be more difficult with Higbee, Mundt, Hopkins, but perhaps he could beat out Blanton, although that might be close. Seems to me if the Rams are to carry a 4'th RB, that guy could actually be more of a FB/HB/blocking TE type and get more playing time out of him than a 4'th TE normally might, especially if we lose Malcolm Brown, ... who is it that will become our bigger HB or short yardage guy ?
jmo.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PARAM

PARAM

Starter
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
906
I dont imagine my opinion will be a popular one, but I am more excited about seeing Akers next season than I am with any other move that has been made.
Stafford will be great, not knocking the move, but Akers ascension to the top tier of RB is really going to be fun to watch, and what I see as the piece that makes this team a Championship Contender
I really can't say I'm more excited about Akers or Stafford, or even Jefferson emerging as a threat. I'm excited about all of it. I'd also be excited if they took it a step further and settled Henderson into that part time, change of pace RB, big time receiving threat, a position he seems ideal to excel.

On the FB part of the discussion a couple of posts after that one, I wish McVay did use a FB in his system. It works so well for Shanahan. There's a kid (Ben Mason, Michigan), who's 6'3", 250 lbs and can play both FB and TE. Would be a great add IMHO and projects towards the end of the draft, 6th or 7th round.
 
Last edited:

Merlin

System Waterboy
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
20,501
We could use a good blocking TE. I had expected Mundt to improve in his blocking and push for time as that guy but he didn't really develop last year. Now with Everett leaving it would be nice to see a TE who can flex and do some FB type role added. Because usually those types aren't early picks they're mid to late types with a role so the expense isn't too great. And if he's the blocking guy mostly he should be able to get on the field.

OR

The Rams could identify all the OL who aren't big enough but who move ok, and pick one of them then give them a TE number. Let's say the mid to late round OT types. And when his big ass is on the field we have what you might call a mismatch in favor of the run game.

OR

They could take a look at the mid to late round NTs in the draft and do the same thing. The NT types are often the same group you choose the FBs from at early levels of ball. Tough guys who are short and usually rather athletic for their size/build.

Anyway. I know those other two options are unlikely but if they are thinking about a TE who can perform FB roles there are not only a few in the draft but there are also conversion projects they could go with to counter the fact that young kids don't get moved into those roles any more as they transition through high school and early college days.
 
Last edited:

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
I really can't say I'm more excited about Akers or Stafford, or even Jefferson emerging as a threat. I'm excited about all of it. I'd also be excited if they took it a step further and settled Henderson into that part time, change of pace RB, big time receiving threat, a position he seems ideal to excel.

On the FB part of the discussion a couple of posts after that one, I wish McVay did use a FB in his system. It works so well for Shanahan. There's a kid (Ben Mason, Michigan), who's 6'3", 250 lbs and can play both FB and TE. Would be a great add IMHO and projects towards the end of the draft, 6th or 7th round.
Look back 3 posts from yours.
 

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
We could use a good blocking TE. I had expected Mundt to improve in his blocking and push for time as that guy but he didn't really develop last year. Now with Everett leaving it would be nice to see a TE who can flex and do some FB type role added. Because usually those types aren't early picks they're mid to late types with a role so the expense isn't too great. And if he's the blocking guy mostly he should be able to get on the field.

OR

The Rams could identify all the OL who aren't big enough but who move ok, and pick one of them then give them a TE number. Let's say the mid to late round OT types. And when his big ass is on the field we have what you might call a mismatch in favor of the run game.

OR

They could take a look at the mid to late round NTs in the draft and do the same thing. The NT types are often the same group you choose the FBs from at early levels of ball. Tough guys who are short and usually rather athletic for their size/build.

Anyway. I know those other two options are unlikely but if they are thinking about a TE who can perform FB roles there are not only a few in the draft but there's also conversion projects they could go with to counter the fact that young kids don't get moved into those roles any more as they transition through high school and early college days.
Last season I was thinking of big Kendall Blanton possibly in that role, this year ... ?
 
  • Cheers
Reactions: Merlin

dieterbrock

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
2020 ROD Survivor Champion
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
16,060
While I prefer Ben Mason, Tommy Tremble works for me as well, and both of them are likely 6'th or later round picks imo. I don't see a late round TE making the 53 roster, or at least it will likely be more difficult with Higbee, Mundt, Hopkins, but perhaps he could beat out Blanton, although that might be close. Seems to me if the Rams are to carry a 4'th RB, that guy could actually be more of a FB/HB/blocking TE type and get more playing time out of him than a 4'th TE normally might, especially if we lose Malcolm Brown, ... who is it that will become our bigger HB or short yardage guy ?
jmo.
Mason is a true FB, he's not going to a team to play TE. Tremble will go higher in the draft than you think, and as blocker 1st, pass catcher 2nd, he can easily crack the roster as the #2 or 3 TE. Mundt and Blanton are merely JAGs and Hopkins inability to see any PT last season is a serious red-flag. I think the need for a 3rd RB is over rated, they'll grab someone cheap. Brown was never the thumper people make him out to be, I've seen him stuffed many times on short distance. Akers can get it done, so can Hendo
 
  • Like
Reactions: Merlin

dieterbrock

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
2020 ROD Survivor Champion
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
16,060
I really can't say I'm more excited about Akers or Stafford, or even Jefferson emerging as a threat. I'm excited about all of it.
Well, it is a thread about Akers so...

On the FB part of the discussion a couple of posts after that one, I wish McVay did use a FB in his system. It works so well for Shanahan.
Does it though? Shanahan's teams have finished in scoring, 20th and 21st twice in his 4 seasons.
Rams have finished #8, 3, 26, & 10 in rushing while the 49ers have finished 24, 13, 2 & 15 in that same time frame. If anything, I think Shanahan could use a few pointers from the Rams
Mason is a straight up I formation fullback, that's not going to be in McVay (nor Shanny) arsenal. And he's no comparison to juszczyk from an offensive perspective coming in to the league.
 

FarNorth

Pro Bowler
Joined
Jun 23, 2014
Messages
1,689
I dont imagine my opinion will be a popular one, but I am more excited about seeing Akers next season than I am with any other move that has been made.
Stafford will be great, not knocking the move, but Akers ascension to the top tier of RB is really going to be fun to watch, and what I see as the piece that makes this team a Championship Contender
Aker's development is one of the absolute keys to the success of the offense going forward, right up there with the qb imo.

My only concern about McVay wanting him to be an every down back-- which he certainly is in terms of skills-- is not to overuse him as we arguably did with Gurley. Akers has to stay healthy for the Rams' offense to take it to the next level.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dieterbrock

Riverumbbq

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6,827
Name
River
On the FB part of the discussion a couple of posts after that one, I wish McVay did use a FB in his system. It works so well for Shanahan. There's a kid (Ben Mason, Michigan), who's 6'3", 250 lbs and can play both FB and TE. Would be a great add IMHO and projects towards the end of the draft, 6th or 7th round.