The Los Angeles Rams took a major hit to their prospects at running back this summer as emerging star Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles during a preseason workout. The franchise traded away power ballcarrier Malcolm Brown earlier this spring, leaving head coach Sean McVay with a noticeable dearth in the backfield.
Soon after the Akers’ injury, many wondered if the Rams would pursue a veteran free agent or a trade in the coming weeks to sure up the position before the start of the regular season. Among the names mentioned was former franchise running back Todd Gurley, who has his most productive years under McVay in Los Angeles.
Gurley has gone unsigned since the end of the 2020 season, which he spent with the Atlanta Falcons. At this point, a reunion with the Rams seems unlikely.
McVay was asked in a media session on Monday if he had considered a Gurley return to Los Angeles in the wake of the injury to Akers. According to Adam Beasley, the Rams head coach reiterated that his team isn’t exploring the addition of a veteran running back right now.
McVay, asked if Todd Gurley could return, said that the team isn't exploring the veteran RB route right now after Akers' injury.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) July 26, 2021
McVay’s latest comments confirms what he said last week after news of Akers’ torn Achilles reached the team. The Rams head coach implied that he would stay in-house and work with the running backs currently on the roster at the start of training camp.
“I don’t know that veteran route is something we’ll rule out, but it’s not something we’re looking at right now,” McVay said on ESPN 710 last Tuesday, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic.
That means the Rams will hand the bulk of the load to third-year ballcarrier Darrell Henderson. The soon-to-be 24-year-old started 11 games in 2020, taking 138 carries for 624 yards and five touchdowns. If Los Angeles chooses to pass on the remaining free agent class, Henderson will become the most important member of the team’s backfield.
McVay will also have unproven options at his disposal in former SMU running back Xavier Jones and 2021 rookie Jake Funk. Neither one has taken a carry in the NFL, but either could prove to be a hidden gem this summer in training camp.
The Rams opinion on adding a veteran like Gurley could change as the year moves along, but for right now, McVay seems content to let the chips fall where they may.