The Rams' most coveted storyline to monitor throughout training camp has been how their group of running backs will develop in the wake of starter Cam Akers being ruled out for the season after suffering a torn Achilles.
In the preseason opener against the Chargers one week ago, the committee of Xavier Jones, Jake Funk and Raymond Calais, totaled just 47 yards as a group. They averaged under 2.5 yards per carry as they never found their footing to break a big one against the Chargers' defense.
However, their efforts against the Raiders were vastly different. The three rushers combined for 90 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Bryce Perkins also got into the mix, accounting for nine carries of his own for 41 yards.
“Just seeing him get in that rhythm and lead us down there was incredible,” Jones said of his quarterback. “I had complete confidence in him. I knew he could make plays.”
Jones had an improved night himself, registering seven carries for 29 yards. Plus, his final line would’ve been even better had several attempts not been nullified by penalties. The Rams committed 10 penalties on the night for 84 yards.
Funk led the way on the ground among the rushers, averaging eight yards per attempt. He showed shiftiness, adequate vision in traffic, which ultimately propelled him for a game-high 19-yard run that he broke off.
“I saw a lot from Funk," McVay said after the game. "I thought he did a good job. I thought Xavier (Jones) made a couple plays. You saw him catch a couple of passes and be able to create a little bit. But I really felt Funk tonight. I thought he did a great job being able to create some explosive runs, one from the dot, one from the offset gun. But, it was good to see those guys make plays.”
Overall, McVay seems happy with the development of his young rushers. While Calais suffered a foot/ankle injury against the Raiders that will require surgery, Funk and Jones appear to be carving out their designed roles ahead of the Week 1 opener.
Whether the Rams look to add a veteran rusher as a result of another injury to the running back room is something to monitor in the coming days to weeks.
Continue Reading: Raiders 17, Rams 16: Top 5 Observations
Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.