Sean McVay Reveals Plans for Rams’ Running Back Rotation

Matthew Stafford Darrell Henderson

Getty Matthew Stafford hands the ball off to Darrell Henderson during the Rams' season opening win on Sunday, September 12, over the Chicago Bears.

The Los Angeles Rams racked up 386 total yards on the Chicago Bears in the opening season victory, but only 74 came through the ground attack.

More noticeable: Robert Woods, a wide receiver, had the second most rushing yards against Chicago at seven yards. Sony Michel, who was part of a big trade with the New England Patriots in late August, only had one carry for two yards.

Why the low output? Sean McVay called it a “flow of the game” reasoning as to why the Rams chose to be pass heavy than ground oriented.

But now, McVay revealed to Rams team reporters J.B. Long and D’Marco Farr on Monday, September 13, on the “Coach McVay Show” that he plans to roll out a different approach with the ground game on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

“You can expect to see Sony and Jake (Funk) get a little bit more work,” McVay said near the 12 minute mark of the video below.


Sean McVay Reacts To Win Over Bears & Previews Week 2 Matchup Against ColtsLos Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay breaks down the win against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium & previews the matchup against the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. Subscribe to the LA Rams Channel: bit.ly/3d9IrHe For More Exclusive Content follow the Rams: Twitter: twitter.com/ramsnfl Instagram: instagram.com/rams/ Facebook: facebook.com/Rams/ Website: therams.com Get the latest on the…2021-09-14T00:06:55Z

McVay Impressed With Henderson Overall

The Rams only ran the ball 23 times and averaged 3.2 yards a carry. Obviously, those numbers need to increase against the Indianapolis Colts defense on Sunday.

Darrell Henderson, who was originally plugged to be the RB1 following Cam Akers’ tearing his Achilles before training camp, went on to take 69.56% of the rushing carries against the Bears. Again, McVay described it as a flow reason.

“The flow of the game, you just felt like we didn’t get a whole lot of runs off,” McVay told both reporters. “We only had 20 plays in the first half and wanted to continue with Darrell. He did an excellent job.

“There’s never been a question about his ability. But I thought he showed toughness, I thought he leveled off runs and I thought he had some crucial conversions – some really tough, hard earned runs.”

McVay additionally pointed out that on the Cooper Kupp catch that was ruled down at the one, then subsequently resulted in a 1-yard score by Henderson, it was the former Memphis Tiger who helped pave the way for Matthew Stafford to connect with Kupp – by picking up a blitzing linebacker.

“Alec Ogletree, who we all know is a really tough, physical linebacker, he’s blitzing internally. Darrell steps up and puts his face on him and allows Matthew to be able to sit in the pocket,” McVay described. “And that’s when Cooper broke inside on Marquis Christian that ended up getting spotted at the one on third down.”


Balance Likely the Plan on Sunday

While the Rams shredded the Bears through the aerial game and produced the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Stafford, which was announced on Wednesday, September 15, they’ll need a different game plan to prevent themselves from looking predictable at Lucas Oil Stadium.

They’ll be going against a Colts defense that surrendered 140 rushing yards to the Seattle Seahawks in the 28-16 loss to open the season. Indy also struggled with another NFC West quarterback from last week in Russell Wilson, who topped his quarterback rating at 152.3 after completing 18-of-23 passes for 254 yards, four touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

That game was also the offensive coordinator debut of new Seahawks assistant coach Shane Waldron, who spent the past four seasons with the Rams including serving as McVay’s passing game coordinator.


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