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By: Dylan Deines
Offensive weapons show up, Funk takes the reigns
Football is almost back, folks! The Los Angeles Rams will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday at SoFi Stadium for the first of three preseason games. Though Sean McVay will leave most of his starters on the bench to avoid injuries there is still plenty to look forward to, you just need to dig a little deeper into the roster.
Almost anything could happen, but these are four bold predictions I have for Saturday’s opener.
Prediction #1: Jake Funk takes the reins behind Darrell Henderson
Since the announcement of Cam Akers’ season ending injury, the Rams have been looking for their number two guy on a roster of inexperienced backs other than Darrell Henderson. Funk and Xavier Jones seem to be the favorites to climb up the depth chart, but after just one preseason game, I predict Funk will begin to take the reins of the second position … and he’ll debut with 79 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“You dream as a little kid of playing in the NFL, and now you’re in your first NFL training camp.”@jakefunk34’s positivity + gratitude is on full display at #RamsCamp
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 9, 2021
After a joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys, McVay gave praise to his rookie running back for a red zone run that would have ended up as a Rams touchdown.
(05:11) “Jake Funk had a nice run down in the tight red area where it looked like he felt the defense, got the ball where it needed to go.”
Prediction #2: Tutu Atwell goes long
Atwell missed two weeks of training camp due to being placed in the reserve/COVID-19 list but returned to practice on August 4th. The Rams may play it safe and not play Atwell in the first preseason game, but if they do, Atwell will go long for a 50+ yard gain against the Chargers secondary and give fans a glimpse of how electric he can be on the football field.
Welcome to #RamsCamp, @tutuatwell! pic.twitter.com/qbTrxdA0iK
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 4, 2021
Though categorized as undersized when compared to the typical NFL receiver, there won’t be much debate that Atwell is the fastest player on the field.
.@c5_atwell bringing nothin’ but SPEED to Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/MK7HqTxVPX
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 1, 2021
Prediction #3: Jacob Harris displays red zone dominance
Jacob Harris may not have much experience playing football, but his physical attributes are off the charts at 6’ 5” 219 lbs and a 4.39 40 yard dash time. McVay has complimented his developmental tight end early and often since the beginning of training camp and come Sunday, Harris will prove his worth in the red zone by scoring a touchdown. Perhaps a fade route?
.@johnwolford_9 ➡️ @JacobHarris87 for six! #RamsCamp pic.twitter.com/45571shNpP
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 5, 2021
If Harris can impress during these next 3 preseason games, it may be hard to keep him off the field during the regular season.
#4 Prediction: Both teams walk away from the game with NO INJURIES
This is less of a bold prediction and more of a hope going into Saturday’s game that both LA teams can enter preseason game number two with the same players available to them. It is devastating to lose players before meaningful football has even taken place. Outside of Akers, the Rams have had positive injury news for almost everyone else that’s been nicked this summer.
So here is too Robert Rochell, Terrell Lewis, Bobby Brown, and anyone else that’s been hurting: Everybody get through this one healthy and onto the next one.
What are your four bold prediction for Saturday?