Cam Akers confident about taking Los Angeles Rams’ run game to next level

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Contributing to a operating again committee and slowed by a freak harm, it took Los Angeles Rams operating again Cam Akers deep into his rookie season to interrupt out.

Akers took handoff after handoff, 29 in whole, as he thrashed by means of the New England Patriots’ protection for 171 yards in entrance of a prime-time tv viewers in Week 14 final season.

It was the start of a standout two-month stretch that noticed Akers common greater than 92 yards per recreation and led to Rams coach Sean McVay’s postseason declaration that Akers was an every-down again who may make an affect within the passing recreation and be featured.

Akers, who will change jersey numbers from No. 23 to three this season, heard McVay’s declaration however stated he has not allowed the data of an expanded function have an effect on his method through the voluntary offseason program.

“I simply deal with it taking it day-to-day; that is the one factor you are able to do is just be sure you’re doing all you may to be at your greatest for the crew,” stated Akers, who turns 22 later this month. “That is what I have been specializing in doing, whether or not that is being a frontrunner or making performs, simply doing what I can do to assist this crew. Not making it greater than what it’s.”

Chosen within the second spherical (No. 52 total) of the 2020 draft from Florida State, the 5-foot-10, 217-pound Akers shared time final season with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown.

Henderson returns for his third season, although he has been slowed throughout offseason crew actions due to an undisclosed harm. Brown departed in free company for the Miami Dolphins.

That has allowed loads of reps for Akers as he turns into acquainted with quarterback Matthew Stafford, who’s getting into his thirteenth NFL season however his first with the Rams.

“It has been enjoyable attending to know Matt,” stated Akers, who’s adopted on the depth chart by Henderson, Xavier Jones, Jake Funk and Raymond Calais. “Gaining chemistry, catching balls, getting handoffs from him. Feeling the way in which he likes to guide, simply studying one another.”

In 13 video games final season, Akers was the Rams’ main rusher with 625 yards and two touchdowns on 145 carries. He additionally caught 11 passes for 123 yards and a landing.

Akers spent two video games sidelined after struggling a rib harm in Week 2 when he awkwardly fell on the soccer. He additionally performed by means of a high-ankle sprain later within the season.

In two playoff recreation appearances, Akers averaged 4.8 yards per carry and 110 yards per recreation.

“He is simply so relaxed again there,” left deal with Andrew Whitworth stated throughout organized crew actions. “That is a trait and a mentality that exhibits you that he is wired completely different and he is someone that expects to carry out properly and I feel guys are excited to see him do his factor and proceed to develop.”

This season, which has expanded from 16 to 17 regular-season video games, Akers has the potential to develop into the primary Rams participant to hurry for 1,000 yards since Todd Gurley, who rushed for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2018 to guide the Rams to a Tremendous Bowl LIII look.

How does McVay plan to make the most of Akers?

“All of the methods that you’d need to have the ability to use a operating again that does not have any limitations,” stated McVay, who’s getting into his fifth season as coach. “No. 1, you have acquired to have the ability to play on all three downs.”

Although Akers displayed his operating and pass-catching skill late final season, there stays room for enchancment on the subject of the intricate particulars of the sport, a typical leap most NFL operating backs should make from 12 months 1 to 2 and construct on as their profession progresses.

Cross safety and understanding tasks on blitz packages stay paramount in Akers’ growth with the intention to acquire the belief of McVay and Stafford on all three downs.

“It is simply within the element and what his job entails each single snap,” McVay stated. “The largest factor that you’d speak about, he is acquired nice pure run instincts, he is actually gifted as a pass-catcher, it is the nuanced understanding of the place you slot in on among the protections when the again is concerned and I feel it is simply persevering with to develop into an increasing number of full.”

Akers stated he has studied the playbook so he is aware of it just like the again of his hand. He additionally labored on sharpening his footwork.

Mentally, Akers stated he is additionally made strides.

“Simply every part slows down,” Akers stated concerning the pace of the sport. “Every thing is rather a lot simpler for me. Perceive the playbook much more, I perceive blocking schemes, I perceive who I would like to dam, simply understanding much more.”

Mentioned Whitworth, who’s getting into his sixteenth season: “He is actually wired the appropriate means.”

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