Sean McVay: Running the ball better has been 'a big point of emphasis' for the Rams




 

The Rams didn't win the Super Bowl last year on the back of a strong running game. In fact, they won it all despite struggling to move the ball consistently on the ground. During the regular season, they ranked 25th in rushing yards, 28th in rushing touchdowns and 25th in yards per carry.

Thankfully, the passing attack was consistent, averaging the second-most net yards per pass attempt in the NFL.

And in the postseason when Cam Akers returned, the running game didn't improve much. They rushed for 140 yards in a blowout win over the Cardinals, but in their next three playoff games, they gained just 186 total yards on the ground. That was on 82 carries, which comes out to an average of only 2.3 yards per carry.

Leading into this season, Sean McVay knows the Rams must run the ball better and more efficiently. That's not lost on him or the team.

"It's been a big point of emphasis because we've got to be more efficient running the football," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio recently. "You'd love to be able to create the explosives but I think just the snap-in and snap-out efficiency. Obviously, the last game we played, credit to Cincinnati, but really throughout the playoffs - with the exception of the Arizona game - we didn't run the football very well. That's something we've taken a lot of pride in here. It starts with us being able to put our players in the right spots, giving them clarity, and then we've got to be able to go execute. Whether it's Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, feel really good about those guys. And then continuing to figure out with our five linemen up front, Tyler Higbee at tight end, Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins, what are the things and concepts we can activate that put them in the right spots. But it's not lost on us that we didn't run the football good enough, we've got to continue to get better in that area, and then continue to maintain a high level of execution in the pass game also."

The Rams should benefit from Akers' return now that he's fully recovered from his Achilles tear, but it's more than just the running back. The offensive line has to contribute, the tight ends must block better and the wide receivers have to seal off defenders when the run goes outside.

Matthew Stafford and the passing game are still the bread and butter of this offense, but balancing it with an efficient rushing attack will pay dividends.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire

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