Players who could make surprise impact, Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams: Sony Michel
When the Rams lost second-year running back Cam Akers for the season, the next man up immediately became Darrell Henderson. Last year, Henderson ran pretty well when given the opportunity. He topped the 600-yard mark in a committee also featuring Akers and former Ram Malcolm Brown.
Now, Henderson gets the chance to be the Rams’ lead back — but, for how long?
Just a little while after the Akers injury, the Rams traded for running back Sony Michel, formerly of the New England Patriots and also a former first-round pick just three years ago. Henderson is still listed as the starter, but the trade for Michel is a curious move.
The Rams drafted Henderson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but the next year used a second-round pick on Akers. It’s clear they don’t believe Henderson can be a true bell cow, or even the lead back for a long period of time.
Michel has spent time as a starter for New England, and if he gets an opportunity or two, he could end up supplanting Henderson for the majority of touches in this one. Last season, in limited action, Michel ran for 449 yards on just 79 carries — an average of 5.7 yards per carry. That’s a pretty healthy number.
The Bears’ run defense was hurting last year without Eddie Goldman, but should be shored up now that he’s back. Look for Michel to get some opportunities; maybe even 8-10 touches in this one. The Bears will be tested. Hopefully, they can shut down both Henderson and Michel.