Darrell Henderson has been on the injured reserve (IR) since Week 16, a result of spraining his MCL against the Minnesota Vikings. What is his status ahead of the Rams’ Divisional Round matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Is Henderson playing with Cam Akers and Sony Michel in LA’s backfield?
Is Darrell Henderson playing today vs. the Buccaneers?
Henderson has been designated to return from IR as of yesterday but will still be a game-day decision as to whether he plays today. His status has not yet been confirmed, but his return from IR means that he should play if he is ready to go.
Sean McVay said this week that Sebastian Joseph-Day and Henderson are unlikely to play against the Bucs. Meanwhile, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and safety Taylor Rapp have been ruled out already.
Henderson’s 2021 season with the Rams
Henderson has been with the LA Rams for three years since they drafted him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The 24-year-old was thrust into the starting role this season after Cam Akers tore his Achilles in preseason camp.
While the Rams may have traded for Sony Michel, Henderson took most of the snaps right up until Week 10. He managed 688 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground in the regular season.
Despite being the starter, his workload wasn’t actually much heavier than it was in 2020. Henderson ran the ball 138 times last season as the team’s RB2 (compared to 149 carries this year).
Overall, he supported the offense efficiently. Henderson averaged 4.6 yards per carry and didn’t fumble the ball once. In fact, he hasn’t fumbled the ball on over 320 carries since coming into the league. I like Henderson as a reliable third-down/relief back, but can he do enough to be an NFL starter?
Reinforcements for LA
Akers’ return is uplifting for the offense. He totaled 55 rushing yards in last weekend’s Wild Card game against the Raiders, as well as catching a 40-yard reception on a trick play from Odell Beckham Jr. As a rookie in 2020, Akers had over 1,000 all-purpose yards, flashing RB1 potential right out of the gate.
Not only is Akers back, but Michel is playing some of the best football of his professional career. He averaged over 4.5 yards per carry during a five-game stretch at the end of the regular season with Henderson injured. Michel generated over 900 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground since the Patriots traded him to the Rams in August.
Will the Rams keep all three backs next season? Is Michel showing enough to warrant a contract as an RB2 either with LA or in the free-agent market?
Henderson is under contract through 2022 before becoming a free agent himself the following offseason.