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Rams RB Cam Akers expects to 'play at a much higher level' after missing most of 2021

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers missed training camp last year after suffering an Achilles tear in mid-July. While he surprisingly returned for Week 18 and the Rams' Super Bowl run, Akers is ready for a full camp and season this time around.

"Just to be out here with the team, man, it feels good," Akers said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN. "Just to have that camaraderie that I missed out on last year, going through the camp.

"I missed it. You know when you take a year off, almost a year -- it felt like a year, you miss everything about it, the small [things], the hard days, the easy days, good, bad. I'm just happy to be out here."

Before injury struck last season, Akers was in line for a hefty workload in Sean McVay's offense. When he did return, the running back lacked some of the explosion we'd seen during his rookie campaign. Akers said he's "100 percent" ready to make up for the time missed last year.

"I expect me to play at a much higher level," Akers said. "I just want to go out, get myself the best chance ... to perform, do what I do best and that's make plays. Whether that's in the film room, whether that's in the training room, I don't know.

"Whatever it is, I'm putting my best foot forward."

During the early stages of training camp, the Rams have rotated Akers and Darrell Henderson with the starting unit.

"I look at it as we've got two starting backs," McVay said over the weekend. "Those guys are great complements of one another, but I see them as both starting-caliber players. We need to get them involved. They need to be on the field. I think it's healthy for them to be able to supplement one another."

Prior to last season, McVay had primarily used one back to carry the load in his offense. His comments about running a timeshare could be partly due to both backs' injury history, a change in philosophy or mere training camp coach speak. With the Rams not playing most of their key players during the preseason, we'll have to wait until the regular season kicks off to know exactly how the coach plans to deploy his backfield.

When healthy, Akers sports the ability to be a three-down back. After missing all last season, he's ready to take on anything thrown his way.

"Whether it's runs, passes, screens, whatever I need to do," Akers said. "Whenever my number's called, whether it's from the slot, the outside receiver to the backfield, I'll be ready, whatever it is."

A healthy Akers would make an already dangerous L.A. offense that much more potent as the Rams defend their Super Bowl title.

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