As training camp quickly approaches, I am going to break down each position on the field. Yesterday here on Ramblin’ Fan we broke down the quarterback position. Now we are going to go from breaking down the most obvious position on the team to the team with the most competition and the one with the most uncertainty, the running back.
The Rams leading rusher Steven Jackson left the team during the offseason in order to pursue a super bowl championship, which he deserves more than any play. Jackson has put in all the work, now he needs to be rewarded. It’s just unfortunate he couldn’t do it with the Rams. With Jackson gone the Rams have been left with a few unproven second year players and a fifth round rookie out of Vanderbilt ton replace the former great.
The Rams are said to have one of the worst running back groups in the NFL which on paper they do, however Jeff Fisher had much success with running backs throughout his coaching career in Tennessee, starting with guys like Eddie George and finishing with Chris Johnson. The Rams also improved the offensive line with the signing of Jake Long who will surely help protect Sam Bradford, but he will also help make big holes in the running game. As unlikely as it may be with the Rams running back by committee approach, don’t be surprised if the Rams do in fact once again have a 1,000 yard rusher.
The Rams surely have one of the best coaches to execute the run game, but who does Fisher have to work with? It is expected that the top three players that will get the majority of the opportunities in training camp are promising second year player Daryl Richardson, second year player who showed promise Isaiah Pead, and rookie Zac Stacy. All in all they are all just a bunch of misfits, but who on the Rams isn’t?
If the Rams wouldn’t have had faith in their guys, they would have given a stronger effort to keep Jackson, gone out in free agency to get a veteran guy, or draft one of the top guys in the draft. The point is that the Rams have faith in the guys that they have and part of that may be because of what Richardson showed last season when he went in for Jackson. Richardson had big games against the Redskins when he went in for Jackson after the first quarter and then again against the Dolphins. Richardson is said to be more of a change of pace, third down back, but from what he did last season there is no doubt that he could start next season especially with Pead’s week one suspension
Speaking of Isaiah Pead, the guy just cant catch a break can he? First he cant come to his rookie mini camp, now a one game suspension. The Rams drafted Pead to potenitially be the guy that replaces Jackson, the question is can he step up to the plate and do it? He had very limited carries last season, however when the Rams lost to the Patriots in London, Pead showed a little of what he can do. Pead put his foot in the ground, made a sharp cut to break a tackle and forced two more defenders to miss in the open field. He also ran tough inside when he had to. Pead did have problems with fumbling the football and pass protection. Pead has been called the front runner in the competition, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t still once again lose the starting job. Pead could be compared to have the talent and game styles of a Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, or LeSean McCoy, but he still has a lot to prove before he can be compared to those guys.
The third front runner in the competition is Zac Stacy. Stacy has been said to have the potential to be the next Alfred Morris in terms of being the late round pick that produces when his number is called. Stacy will be the change of pace heavier, stronger back that the Rams lost in Jackson, and just because he is bigger doesn’t necessarily mean he lacks speed and agility, because Stacy has both of those as well. Stacy will have a ways to go before he is even mentioned in the starting conversation, but don’t rule him out.
The running back competition is by far one of the most anticipated camp battles this offseason. The Rams have three guys that could be the starter, plus Terrance Gannaway who is being overlooked by a lot of people. Get ready fans because this training camp battle will keep you on the edge of your seat.