Achilles healed, Rams’ Cam Akers is ready to roll in regular-season finale against 49ers
Rams running back Cam Akers, who suffered a torn Achilles in July, is on track to make his season debut Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, coach Sean McVay said Wednesday.
Akers was injured before training camp, seemingly sidelining him for the season. But Akers was activated to the roster two weeks ago.
Akers was listed as a full participant for the Rams’ jog-through Wednesday.
“Everybody else was at a jog-through and Cam was full-speed, flying around,” McVay said during a video conference. “So, he’s excited. He’ll be ready to go.
“Looking forward to seeing Cam make his debut this week.”
The Rams can clinch the NFC West division and No. 2 in the NFC playoffs with a win over San Francisco, but the 49ers need a win for playoff contention.
The enthusiasm in McVay’s voice whenever he was asked about Akers was infused with gamesmanship.
The Rams (12-4) have lost five games in a row against the 49ers (9-7), and McVay no doubt wants to keep 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan guessing.
The stakes will be high for both teams Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
If the Rams win, they will claim their third NFC West title in five seasons and earn the No. 2 seed for the NFC playoffs. If the 49ers win, they will earn a playoff spot.
Akers’ return strengthens a team that added linebacker Von Miller and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at midseason.
After Akers played well as a rookie last season, McVay had planned to make the former Florida State star a centerpiece of the offense with an expanded role. That plan was shelved when Akers was injured, and the Rams traded for Sony Michel to back up oft-injured Darrell Henderson.
It proved a smart move.
Michel has been the starter for the last five games — and the Rams have won all of them.
In Sunday’s 20-19 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, Michel rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown in 19 carries. He averaged more than 100 yards rushing in the previous four games.
NFL roundtable: The Rams need to end a five-game skid against the 49ers to clinch the NFC West, and it’s do or die when the Chargers visit the Raiders.
Working Akers into the regular-season finale will be a “feel thing” McVay said.
“You definitely want to make sure you keep Sony rolling,” McVay said. “But being able to get Cam involved and get his feet wet is something that’s important. ... Whether it’s package with both of them on the field or Cam kind of supplementing Sony if he needs a blow, that will be a little bit of a feel thing.”
But the Rams will be not overwork Akers, McVay said.
“He looks like he could carry it and play a lot of plays, but I think you want to be smart with an incremental approach,” he said.
“Is that 10 snaps? Is that 20? Is that 25?” he said. “I think that’s something that as the week progresses we’ll have a better feel for, but definitely want to get him involved.”
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Left tackle Andrew Whitworth said Akers was excited for his opportunity.
“I think that they’ve tried to hold him back, just because it’s been insane, really, how fast he’s been healed and how well he’s done,” Whitworth said. “But seeing him all the time and being with him in the locker room and the training room when he’s been rehabbing, it doesn’t shock me.
“Just with the mentality he’s had and, really, the confidence you’ve seen in him from day one with this thing.”
Akers’ energy and positive attitude lifts teammates in the huddle, Whitworth said.
“He’s got a great aura about him and a great personality of just pushing guys, and he’s talkative and he’s in the moment,” Whitworth said. “It’s been fun, just the little time I’ve been with him to be in some huddles with him and realize how much he loves football.
“And I think it’s almost infectious how excited he is to get opportunities in games, and I think that’s something that brings guys up around him.”
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