There was a time just a couple of weeks ago when the outlook of the Los Angeles Rams’ offense was bleak. Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay were rolling to begin the season, but teams were beginning to find the blueprint to slow them down, forcing McVay to adjust.
In recent weeks, the Rams have gone back to running more play-action and including more offensive sets that bring in an extra offensive lineman. But besides those alterations, McVay decided to insert Sony Michel into the starting offense, which has paid massive dividends thus far.
When the Rams first acquired Michel before the season began, there were plenty of people who felt confused by the move (including myself). Michel was a former first-round pick, but he had dealt with injury issues and was showing signs of decline despite being in only his fourth year in the NFL.
With the Rams offense needing a spark, after sitting behind Darrell Henderson for the majority of the season, Michel drew the start in Week 13 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. Michel would proceed to rush for 121 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts, becoming the first 100-yard rusher on the Rams this season.
The Georgia product would follow up his performance against the Jaguars with a 79-yard outing on 20 attempts Monday night versus the Arizona Cardinals. While those numbers don’t jump off of the page, Michel was extremely physical on the ground, opening other things up in the offense to help Los Angeles secure a massive victory on the road.
Everyone has their own reasons for why teams need to run the ball in the NFL, but Brandon Staley — the former defensive coordinator of the Rams and current head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers — explained it perfectly earlier this season. There’s a sense of physicality that a team imposes when they hand the ball off, prompting teams to commit to stopping the run, which is something the Rams lacked before Michel became the starting running back.
It has been only two weeks since Michel was inserted into the backfield alongside Matthew Stafford. But given the results thus far, and how the offense has drastically improved, it would be surprising to see anyone but Michel start in Week 15 versus the Seattle Seahawks — and beyond.
Plenty of credit should be given to McVay, Stafford, and the offensive line for the offense’s recent breakthrough. At the same time, Michel deserves some praise for how he’s rejuvenated the offense.
Read more: https://sports.yahoo.com/sony-michel-big-reason-rams-202105358.html?src=rss