The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals have taken a completely different approach to running back this season. The Rams have rotated players throughout the year, while the Bengals have relied heavily on workaholic Joe Mixon.
Now in the Super Bowl, the Rams will have three guys available who started games this season: Cam Akers, Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson Jr.
Sean McVay told reporters on Wednesday that he expects Henderson to play against the Bengals. He didn’t reveal how the Rams plan to deploy their trio of fullbacks, but they’ll come up with a hot hand if one shows up during the game.
“I think Darrell is going to go for it,” McVay said. “So you’ll have Cam, Darrell and Sony. You’ll be able to see a good three-way rotation, depending on how the game unfolds. The situations that arise will dictate which one you see. Like anything else, if we’re able to get into a running rhythm, we’re going to go there with a hot hand.
Henderson has been out since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Vikings. He had just seven carries in his last two games played and was knocked down by Sony Michel as the starting running back before he even suffered an injury.
Akers has done a good job since returning from a torn Achilles, totaling 213 yards in his three postseason games on 59 total touches. Michel was still involved against the 49ers, in part because Akers hit his shoulder in the win, carrying him 10 times for 16 yards.
It’s hard to see the Rams make a complete switch and go with Henderson against Akers and Michel on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they give all three players opportunities. Akers should still be the starter, with Michel operating on third down in pass protection and possibly in short-range situations. Henderson is the best receiver of the three, so that could be a way to use him in this game.