The Rams picked up running back C.J. Anderson ahead of Week 16’s game in Arizona looking for some depth at his position.
The late-season addition paid off for both parties with Anderson’s back-to-back rushing performances of at least 132 yards against the Cardinals and 49ers with a touchdown in each game, as running back Todd Gurley dealt with his knee injury. That was before Anderson played a major role in putting the Rams past the Cowboys in the Divisional round and solidified himself as a key member of the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles offense.
After splitting Super Bowl carries with the 2017 AP Offensive Player of the Year and league’s leader in touchdowns in 2018, Anderson faces free agency once again. The Rams welcomed Anderson for their final push for the No. 2 seed and playoff bye after the back had been cut by both the Panthers and Raiders in 2018 — Anderson’s temporary homes after the Broncos cut their 1,000-yard back following the 2017 campaign.
The veteran has told the media multiple times since becoming a Ram, he understands the harsh realities that come from the powers that be building and managing an NFL roster. And with his brief run with the Rams potentially coming to a close, Anderson continues to keep it real facing another contract situation.
“Oh no of course, of course — I mean, it’s a business though,” Anderson said of his desire to stay in L.A. “I was a 1,000-yard rusher last year, top-10 in the league in a lot of different categories, top-five in a lot of different categories at the running back position, I was cut from three teams, so who knows how this business will go?”
Anderson averaged 149.5 yards per game and 6.9 yards per attempt in his small regular-season sample size with the Rams. He also joined Gurley to become the first Rams’ running back duo to each put up 100 yards rushing in playoff game, giving the front office reason to consider keeping the proven back with paired with Gurley going forward.
But the Rams running backs room could be running low on seats. The club elected to carry four running backs in Gurley, Anderson, second-year back Justin Davis and rookie John Kelly late in the season and into the postseason, as former second-string back Malcolm Brown looked on with a clavicle injury.
Head coach Sean McVay’s offense rarely split looks out of the backfield before the addition of Anderson, and the somewhat unexpected dual-running back boost could shake up decisions to be made ahead of the offseason program, decisions that Anderson hopes will keep him in L.A.
“I definitely like what they do up here, it’s fun, it’s competitive, good organization, good coaches, good staff, so if the cards allow it I’ll be here, if not I’ll go have fun somewhere else,” Anderson said.
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Either way, the recent journeyman sees good times ahead and a bright future for to back-to-back NFC West champs and top team in the NFC.
“One thing you can say about this team, I do believe that they will be back,” Anderson said, before cleaning out his locker with his No. 35 jersey and its Super Bowl LIII patch hanging next to him. “Whether it’s new faces, same faces, I think coach McVay and the staff here and some of the key players here have the talent and the expertise to get them over that hump.”