St. Louis Rams: Who will win the backfield in 2013?
For the last eight seasons, the St. Louis Rams and most NFL fans knew who owned the starting running back job. With Steven Jackson’s departure come lots of questions with few answers, but let’s see what those answers are in 2013.
The training camp battle for the Rams’ running back position will consist of the proven backup (Daryl Richardson), the frustrated draft choice (Isaiah Pead) and the hungry rookie (Zac Stacey). All three can win the job, and that will make the Rams training camp and preseason games very intriguing to watch.
Richardson has the lead in this competition by having the most experience. He averaged 4.8 yards on 98 carries in 2012, but coughed up the ball twice in limited action. If he can limit the turnovers and improve on his overall skill set, than Richardson can easily be the number one back come August. One can only hope that Richardson doesn’t win the job by the other two running backs being worse in coughing up the football.
The second running back in contention for the starting job in 2013 is Isaiah Pead. Pead will have the hardest road to win the job, because he will have to win the good graces of the coaching staff, because Pead had lots of struggles in his rookie season. Being a second-round pick that only carried the ball 10 times is not encouraging, but Pead has been open about his desire to put his past in the past. He has more talent than Richardson and Stacey, but he’ll have to fight to get to where he should have been in 2012.
The last candidate for the starting running back spot is the dark horse in Zac Stacey. He was drafted in the fifth-round, but he was one of my favorite running backs in the 2013 draft class. Stacey won’t wow you with his speed or athleticism, but he’s a quick downhill runner that’s always getting yards no matter what the situation is. I can easily see Stacey force a permanent spot on a committee system where Stacey sees the short yardage touches. However, Stacey can win the Rams running back position outright.
Whoever wins the starting running back job will be a great running back, because competition breeds success. It’s now up to these three running backs to show who really has what it takes and it will be very exciting to watch.
James Cobern is a NFC West Division Leader for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @Jmcobern1