One of the strangest and most surprising stories to come out of Sunday’s games was the Los Angeles Rams’ decision to bench starting RB Cam Akers in favor of second-year RB Kyren Williams leading up to their game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers.
Akers, who was one of the team’s five pregame inactives, opened up the season as the clear starter at the position.
Cam Akers’ Days With the Rams May Be Numbered
In fact, as Pro Football Network noted back in training camp, Akers was back in the good graces of the coaching staff and head coach Sean McVay after the fourth-year pro was put on the trade block last season after getting benched.
Sources familiar with the situation said Akers had a disagreement on his role last season and how he would be used by then-running backs coach Ra’Shaad Samples, who would wind up leaving the team before the season ended to join Arizona State as their wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator.
I’m just as confused as everybody else. I’m blessed though 🤷🏾♂️
— Cam akers (@thereal_cam3) September 17, 2023
Samples was the youngest assistant coach with the Rams last season at just 27 years old. An organizational source said once the trade deadline passed and Samples left, Akers was able to put the negativity behind him and finished the season well.
McVay, who is known in coaching circles as being down on players who do not perform well in regular-season practices, clearly made the decision to bench Akers, and when he’s down on the player, it’s rarely a well-kept secret around the NFL.
“Coach’s decision,” McVay said when asked after the game about why Akers wasn’t active. “(I) felt like that was best for our football team. I felt like Kyren gave us the best opportunity, and what (second-year pro) Ronnie (Rivers) and (veteran RB) Royce (Freeman) have done … So that was a decision that I made.”
According to a FOX Sports report, other teams said the Rams were trying to trade Akers again recently.
As for rookie RB Zach Evans, a source familiar with the team’s thinking said while the Rams remain high on him, he’s still in the learning phase in several areas, including pass protection. The sixth-round pick was inactive prior to Sunday’s game with Williams, second-year pro Rivers, and Freeman active.
As for Akers remaining on the team, McVay was asked if it’s still possible.
“I think there’s going to be an opportunity to see what that looks like moving forward, but it’s not going to be a back-and-forth thing. He and I have had great dialogue, and we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days,” he said.