As good as Darrell Henderson was playing at times during the season, we all got the feeling that Sean McVay was chomping at the bit to get Cam Akers opportunity. as soon as he started making big plays against San Francisco in Week 12, Akers didn’t look back.
From Weeks 13 on, Akers averaged almost 24 touches/game. He was a workhorse most weeks, but he saw two bell-cow weeks, one of which was in Week 14 when he received 31 touches on 79% of snaps.
The other bell-cow week was in on Saturday in the NFC Divisional loss against the Packers, where Akers was on the field for 96% of snaps, with a healthy Malcolm Brown on the sidelines. Brown has been the long down and distance back the entire year, while Akers has been creeping into that work, until he finally took over in his final game of the season.
Sean McVay’s willingness to play Akers on every down says a lot, especially with Brown healthy. Normally, Brown would’ve been in for at least half of their 8 third down plays.
Well, it’s possible Brown isn’t back in LA next season, as he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent. If Brown isn’t back, that can almost guarantee Akers an every-down, or at least a 3-down role for the Rams in 2021.
There were a lot of variables and moving parts in Akers’ late-season run, and the team even labeled him with a “high ankle sprain” after the Jets game, which he allegedly suffered in the first half against the Jets in Week 15 (his “low” 16-touch game during his run). It didn’t seem to bother him, because he had two big runs nullified by penalties in that second half, which would’ve put him at 18 touches.
He was out against the Seahawks the following week, where Darrell Henderson took over as the lead back, but then he suffered a high ankle sprain, which is more believable, because he was placed on IR.
The positive sign for Akers is that when all three RBs were healthy from Weeks 13-15, Akers was the guy. His newly acquired every-down role against the Packers on Saturday shows us a glimpse of why Akers is now someone we’ll be looking at near the 1-2 turn in drafts next season.