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The Weirdness Between Cam Akers And The Rams Is Starting To Feel A Lot Like The Todd Gurley Situation

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What is it with the Los Angeles Rams and their handling of seemingly great young running backs? Sean McVay is implying that Cam Akers' future with the team — never mind his status for Sunday's game versus Carolina — is very much in question.

Akers burst onto the scene as an NFL rookie when he was given the opportunity, notably rushing for 223 yards across two playoff starts. Last year, a torn Achilles kept Akers out until the regular-season finale, where he made a stunning, swift recovery and came back in time for the team's run to the Super Bowl.

Although he didn't post good numbers upon his return, you could understand Akers having a little bit of rust coming off such a major injury so soon. Expected to be the clear feature back in the Rams' 2022 offense, Akers has instead split far more time with Darrell Henderson Jr. than anyone could've foreseen. He only got three carries in the Week 1 loss to Buffalo, and had just eight rushing attempts in a Monday night loss to the rival 49ers.

Something very strange going on here. Important to bear this in mind:

But I also contend, it's very relevant to cite a quite similar situation that popped up not so long ago related to the Rams.

Now to bring it back around to Todd Gurley. Knee injuries hampered Gurley throughout his time in the NFL, which saw him earn Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2017, his first season with McVay. Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million extension and backed it up with a career-high 17 rushing TDs the next year, as the Rams made it to the Super Bowl to face the mighty Patriots.

After rushing for 115 yards and a score on only 17 carries in a Divisional Round win over Dallas, Gurley carried the rock just 14 times across the next two games.

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Sure didn't seem like Gurley was lacking juice, and considering New England won that Super Bowl 13-3, perhaps Gurley could've been a spark with increased opportunities. How you pay a man such a large contract and then only give him 10 totes in the biggest game in the sport is beyond me. Still doesn't make sense.

Then, behind far worse run-blocking in 2019, he had a down year as LA missed the playoffs for the first and only time to date under McVay. For whatever reason, Gurley got kicked to the curb, toiled away with the Falcons in 2020 and has not played in the pros since. He just turned 28 in August.

I don't think Cam Akers suddenly became washed up or forgot how to play football. He's averaging three yards per carry behind a depleted o-line this year, so this doesn't seem like a Trent Richardson-esque, steep decline. It was evident even in his first year with the Rams that he could pick up McVay's system and thrive within it. He managed to string together a very respectable college career while Florida State was at the beginning of a rebuild. Akers can flat-out play.

All anyone can really do is speculate from afar, which is what makes this such a bizarre, unsettling development. Obviously let's hope the person Cam Akers, first and foremost, is OK…but seriously…

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok