The Los Angeles Rams are entering a new era in several different ways this season. They have a new stadium, new uniforms and a bit of a new offense. Former No. 10 overall pick Todd Gurley has found a new NFL home, and he leaves a pretty big hole at running back. Sean McVay recently told Dan Hellie on the Helliepod that he's adopting Kyle Shanahan's strategy in how he plans to approach the running back position -- which is a smart idea considering the San Francisco 49ers made it all the way to the Super Bowl last season. Not to mention, the whole run Gurley into the ground strategy didn't exactly work out well long term for the Rams.
"I think it'll just naturally work itself out. I think if you look at that success San Fran had last year with that running back-by-committee approach," McVay said, via NFL.com. "What I thought Kyle and their players did a great job of is, 'Hey, we're going to have an open-mind approach, we're going to be committed to trying to have some balance and then we'll go with the hot hand or whoever really expresses himself as deserving of the carries."
Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman all played important roles in San Francisco's offense last season, as the 49ers averaged 144.1 rushing yards per game -- which was No. 2 in the league behind the Baltimore Ravens. McVay believes that his running back room has enough talent to replicate what Shanahan did last season.
The Rams definitely have some talent at the running back position with veteran Malcolm Brown and youth with Darrell Henderson and John Kelly. The Rams also used a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on former Florida State running back Cam Akers -- who is viewed as a potential "workhorse." The second team All-ACC player out of Jackson, Mississippi rushed for a career-high 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns during his junior season in Tallahassee and broke Dalvin Cook's freshman record for rushing yards in his first year at Florida State (1,025). He's a compact, aggressive prospect who could be a three-down back at the next level. While Akers does have star potential, it's clear that McVay is going to give everyone a fair shot to prove their worth in the backfield.
"We feel good. We've got three guys really on our roster that have played football when you look at Darrell Henderson, John Kelly is another guy, Malcolm Brown has consistently produced in that No. 2 role behind Todd," McVay said. "And then Cam Akers is a guy that we're excited about. So we've got four backs that we feel like are all NFL-legitimate starting-caliber backs and not feeling like you've got to force carries or touches to any of them. Just open mind and see how these guys do."