THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In the midst of the late stages of a 2022 season that has seen multiple young players make the most of their opportunities, Cam Akers can be counted among them.
The third-year running back posted 118 rushing yards and a career-high three touchdowns against the Broncos in Week 16, the highlight of a promising stretch since the mid-point of the 2022 season.
"I think he's just gone about his business the right way," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "(He) really attacked every single day, like I mentioned yesterday, he deserves a ton of credit. I thought guys played well around him yesterday and then I also think (Assistant Head Coach/ Tight Ends Coach) Thomas Brown's leadership for that group has been really helpful. It was great to be able to see Cam play the way that we know he's capable of."
Akers was away from the team for almost a month as the Rams worked through internal issues which head coach Sean McVay said he wanted to keep in-house. During that time, McVay also confirmed Los Angeles was exploring trading Akers. Ultimately, L.A. did not, and Akers returned to the team after the trade deadline – something McVay had not ruled out as a possibility as they sorted through the situation.
Since that return, Akers has tallied 408 of his 559 rushing yards this season, with six of his seven rushing touchdowns coming over those last eight games.
"Just making sure I prepare right throughout the week, making sure I prepare for the game," Akers said postgame Sunday, when asked what a performance like that meant to him and how he got to that point. "Mentally, understanding who I am, knowing who I am, being confident in who I am, and just going to do it. Ultimately what it comes down is going (out) and making plays, and that was on display today."
Teammates have likewise seen that mindset reflected in Akers' approach every week.
"Just the mindset of going out there and truly improving every single day, and it's something that you saw in practice, so guys aren't surprised by the way Cam has gone out there and done his thing," right tackle Rob Havenstein said. "It speaks volumes to the mental toughness and the competitiveness that Cam has."
Much like the Rams are doing with other players when it comes to evaluating who is part of their 2023 plans, Akers' recent performances seem to have put him in the fold for next season.
"I think that right now with what he's done continuing to build on that momentum, I think it'd be silly based on what a great job he's done to think of it anything differently than him being a big part of what you want to be able to do moving forward, but you just take it a day at a time," McVay said. "But that certainly, I think is something that we've worked through and there's totally a different trajectory in terms of what he's done and the way that he's handled himself and the way that he's playing like we know he is capable of and hopefully you just continue to see him build on it these last couple weeks and into next year for the Rams."