Running back Cam Akers tears Achilles tendon – San Bernardino Sun

For months, the Rams had been talking about Cam Akers, raising expectations that their main rusher in 2020 would be more productive in several ways in his second season in the NFL.

“This guy is going to be a great player,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Akers in January. “I have enormous confidence in him.”

But it turns out that Akers’ second season won’t be in 2021. The Rams revealed on Tuesday that the 22-year-old running back tore an Achilles tendon while training on Monday.

The injury looks certain to cost Akers the entire season, although the Rams have refrained from saying so officially as he sought further medical advice.

The news is all the more painful as it came as the Rams eagerly awaited the start of training camp on July 28 at UC Irvine.

The loss of Akers will put more responsibility, if possible, on new quarterback Matthew Stafford and a larger group of receivers to improve offense.

And it’s an early and unwanted reminder of the danger injury poses for the Rams’ top 2021 prospects with defensive lineman Aaron Donald (who just turned 30), left tackle Andrew Whitworth (around 40). ) and wide receivers DeSean Jackson (34) and Cooper Kupp coming off injuries.

Akers himself was another Rams player hoping to stay healthier in the season ahead.

Drafted with the Rams’ best draft pick (second round) in 2020 following the release of former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, Akers battled a rib injury and sprained ankle to end his rookie season with 625 yards and two touchdowns and 11 receptions for 123 yards and a TD.

He came out strong late in the season, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 13 with 171 yards in a win over the Patriots, gaining 131 in the Rams’ playoff win over the Seahawks, then rushing for 90 yards. – taking a direct seven-yard snap for a score – in the loss to the Packers.

Who takes the ball now?

The next man would be Darrell Henderson, who rushed for 624 yards (one short of Akers) and five touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown in his second season after being drafted in the third round in 2019.

Other backers in the 90-man roster are Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais, who saw all of their special team action last year, and seventh-round pick Jake Funk.

The third man on the running back committee last season, career replacement Malcolm Brown, signed with the Dolphins as a free agent in March.

General manager Les Snead has indicated that the Rams will be patient in choosing Akers’ replacement, confident that the existing group can do the job and that they will not have to seek out a free agent or trade.

Akers the role could have widened this season, which begins when the Rams host the Bears on September 12.

It would be possible to replace what Akers did as a rookie, but more difficult to replace what the Rams were counting on him to do this year.

During the Organized Team Activities (OTA) in June, McVay said he hoped that a better understanding of the pass blocking functions in the backfield would allow Akers to become a three-way full-back, and spoke of the ability to expand Akers receiving role by moving it to widening and lunge positions sometimes.

The Rams’ high expectations for Akers were voiced by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, another Florida State alumnus.

“I can’t wait to see him grow up from here,” Ramsey said last spring. “I’m just praying that he can stay healthy and can help lead the offensive, because we need him.”

How much they needed him, they’re about to find out.

In other news, the Rams announced on Tuesday that they had given up on Nsimba Webster, the wide receiver who returned punters and kickoffs without much of an impact in his second season in the NFL.

They had previously seemed likely to switch from Webster as the returning man, with rookie wide receiver Tutu Atwell and Calais among the players auditioning for the OTA role.


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