Cam Akers, running back for the Los Angeles Rams, is expected to make his season debut on Sunday. This will add another top-tier offensive talent to an elite NFL offense.
If they want to win NFC West by defeating a strong rival, the Rams (12-4) are going to need all the help they can.
Akers is expected to be in uniform on Sunday when the Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers (9-7). Akers ruptured his Achilles tendon in private training sessions shortly before training camp began. But Akers and the rest of the team believe that Akers is capable of making a quick recovery from an injury that sometimes requires over a year of rehabilitation.
Akers was present Wednesday at the Rams’ walkthrough.
“He was full speed, flying around,”McVay stated. “He’s excited. He’ll be ready to go.”
While the Rams still have to figure out how Akers was involved in the game against the Niners, starter Sony Michel has an impressive streak of 497 yards and three touchdowns during their five-game winning streak. Michel surpassed Darrell Henderson to be the team’s rushing leader, while also posting two 100-yard games during December.
McVay states that Akers seems to be fully healthy, but Los Angeles doesn’t need him to carry a lot of the ball this week with playoffs approaching.
“I do think you want to be smart with an incremental approach,”McVay stated. “Is that 10 snaps? Is that 20? Is that 25? I think that’s something that as the week progresses, we’ll have a better feel for, but we definitely want to get him involved.”
According to the Rams, Akers declined to talk to reporters about his return. He opted to wait to see if he plays. His teammates were impressed by his determination despite a difficult injury.
“I think they tried to hold him back, just because it’s been insane how fast he’s been healed and how well he’s done,”Andrew Whitworth was left tackle. “It just doesn’t shock me, really, with the mentality he’s had and the confidence you’ve seen in him from Day One.”
Akers, despite not receiving consistent playing time until the second half last season, was the Rams’ top rusher as a rookie with 625 yards. He also put up a combined 221 yards in Los Angeles’ two playoff games, cementing his status as the Rams’ starting running back for 2021 — until his Achilles injury forced the Rams to acquire Michel to pair with Henderson.
Akers showed remarkable improvement since the beginning of his rehab for an injury originally thought to be season-ending. McVay indicated that Akers would be eligible to play in the postseason if he was able to return from injured reserve.
With Henderson out with a sprained right leg that could end Henderson’s season, the Rams could look to Akers for Michel. In Week 10, the Niners defeated LA 31-10. San Francisco boasts one of the NFL’s best all-around defenses.
The Rams’ playoff destiny will be determined by their final regular-season matchup, which is against Kyle Shanahan’s opponent.
Los Angeles will be able to beat the 49ers in the division’s first game since December 2018. This will give it its third division title and McVay’s half-decade of management. It also has the right to host the first playoff match at SoFi Stadium. If Seattle beats Arizona (11-5), the Rams will also win the division.
“This is a tough 49ers team,” linebacker Von Miller said. “But it’s exciting just to think about the possibilities. Either way we think about it, it’s motivating to have this opportunity to go out and win (the division). All the teams around the league, the first thing you set out to do is win the division.”
NOTES: S Nick Scott is Akers’ only Rams player with injury reported by the Rams. Scott suffered a broken thumb and could still play after the surgery. McVay claims that WR Van Jefferson is not hurt after he took 31 snaps in Baltimore last Sunday. McVay said it was “just the game’s flow.” He’s still a really important part. Nothing has changed, and you can expect to see a lot of Van this week.”