THOUSAND OAKS — Darrell Henderson’s laid-back demeanor is what teams strive to have collectively whenever injuries decimate multiple positions.
The Rams are down to their third option at right guard and there’s currently one tight end on the active roster as of Wednesday afternoon. But the shuffling on the offensive line and lack of blockers hasn’t phased Henderson, who has been one of the few constants on the Rams’ offense through two games this season.
Henderson is healthy, running hard and grateful for his teammates.
“He a dog,” Henderson said of wide receiver Cooper Kupp providing the lead block on his 8-yard touchdown run against the Atlanta Falcons last week. “I appreciated what he did and he led the way. The offensive line did a great job. He knew what the play was designed to do and he came through.”
Henderson and the rushing attack had a productive outing in last week’s victory against the Falcons, despite losing right guard Tremayne Anchrum after the second play of the game. Henderson and Cam Akers combined for 91 rushing yards before the team was docked 26 yards on an intentional safety as a strategy to help secure the win.
Anchrum, who was filling in for Coleman Shelton, will miss the remainder of the regular season because of an ankle injury. Shelton moved to center to replace the injured Brian Allen and now the team will welcome Alaric Jackson to the starting lineup on Sunday to play right guard against the Arizona Cardinals. Veteran guard Oday Aboushi is also available after the team promoted him to the active roster on Tuesday.
“Everybody that’s in the room, they’re capable of playing, so we just trust everybody who’s playing,” Henderson said of the weekly changes on the offensive line.
Henderson, the fourth-year running back, also had praise for wide receiver Ben Skowronek, who played fullback against the Falcons. The Rams rarely utilize a fullback, but it was their way of adjusting to the injuries on the offensive line.
“He did a great job,” Henderson said. “He’s tough, he’s physical and he knows his assignment and when he’s leading the way, it’s going to be a collision.”
Henderson also said Akers is “going to be special in this league” and he’s not concerned about his slow start to the season. Henderson’s statistics aren’t among the best in the fantasy football world, but he’s been a calm and reliable presence on the field and his teammates and coaches have noticed.
“He’s a really talented player,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “When Hendo is rolling, slash running … he’s physical, fast, does a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield, really a pretty complete player.”
“Yeah, I thought they both did a good job,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Henderson and Akers. “That’s why you don’t really get too caught up in stats because they end up taking a bunch of yards away when we took the safety. Because it’s always about trying to win the football game. But I did think that both Cam and Darrell did a nice job. Kind of about a 50-50 balance in terms of their playing time. They both had some good contributions and that was a step in the right direction.”
HOPKINS SUSPENDED THREE GAMES
Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins was suspended without pay for the next three games for violating the NFL policy on substances of abuse, a league spokesperson announced Wednesday.
Hopkins is eligible to return to the Rams’ active roster on Oct. 10 after the team’s Week 5 home game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Currently, Tyler Higbee is the lone tight end on the Rams’ active roster. Hopkins, Higbee’s backup, has only played eight offensive snaps and hasn’t received a target this season. The team has tight ends Roger Carter Jr. and Jared Pinkney on the practice squad.
JEFFERSON NOT PRACTICING
McVay said wide receiver Van Jefferson probably won’t practice this week, a strong indication that he’ll miss his third consecutive game to start the season.
McVay added that Jefferson hasn’t had a setback in his recovery from the knee surgery he had in training camp.
Jefferson, Allen (knee) and rookie cornerback Cobie Durant (hamstring) didn’t practice Wednesday. Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald received a rest day and cornerback David Long was listed as “limited” because of a groin injury.
UCLA PRODUCT RETURNS TO L.A.
The Rams signed former UCLA standout defensive end Takkarist McKinley, a 2017 first-round selection of the Falcons.
McKinley was taken from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad and added to the Rams’ active roster. He spent last season with the Cleveland Browns.
Matthew Stafford on the toughness Justin Herbert displayed last week: “I was watching that game with my wife and she was like, ‘Somebody get him out of there.’ And I was like, ‘He ain’t coming out.’ … Felt for him in the moment, but was really a fan from afar.” #Rams #Chargers
— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) September 21, 2022