Sean McVay on RB Xavier Jones: ‘Expecting good things from him this season’

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Darrell Henderson Jr. was expected to be the Rams’ backup running back this season with Cam Akers getting most of the carries. However, Henderson and the rest of the Rams’ backs were bumped up a spot on the depth chart when Akers tore his Achilles while training.

That puts Xavier Jones in line for a much bigger role than expected, likely operating as Henderson’s backup. We didn’t see much of his true ability against the Chargers in the preseason opener, but he was solid in pass protection and showed brief flashes of his elusiveness when he was able to find even the slightest bit of running room.

Sean McVay said Monday that the running game was “sloppy,” but after the game on Saturday, he shared some positive remarks about Jones and his role with the Rams this season.

“I thought he did a good job. Not a whole lot of looks. He’s a slash runner. He’s able to create more than what sometimes the play is blocked for. I think he’s steadily stacked good blocks day in, day out. He’s a guy that if he keeps on this trajectory, we’re going to be expecting good things from him this season. And Jake Funk showed really great things. The fourth-down and one run, where he’s hit in the backfield and is able to surge forward and get a yard and a half. But Xavier has been a bright spot in camp. And I thought with the limited opportunities he had tonight, he was a positive.”

Jones is battling Funk for the backup role, but both players should contribute in some form anyway. They’re both capable blockers and receivers, and they can each run between the tackles, too.

As well-rounded backs, they’re good backups to Henderson and it wouldn’t be surprising if both players get a decent share of touches in 2021.