ST. LOUIS — Isaiah Pead says he hasn’t been able to show it yet, the electricity and explosion, the speed and vision that made him a Cincinnati star.
“I don’t think my best abilities have came out, by any means,” he said Friday.
But the question about the running back St. Louis used its fourth draft pick on in 2012 is starting to change. It used to be, “When will Pead peak?” It’s shifting to, “Will he?”
With a less-than-stellar rookie season in the books and a rough start to his second year, Pead has work to do. Saturday’s preseason game against Green Bay offers his next opportunity to prove he should replace departed starter Steven Jackson instead of Daryl Richardson, who seems to be settling into the role.
“I think Daryl played really, really well last week,” Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said Thursday. “I think Isaiah’s definitely got to play some catch-up. But again, we’re not just looking at one game. He’s got a whole preseason to look at. We were very pleased with the way Daryl played last week. They’ve both done really well in practice. Would I say Daryl has the lead? Sure, but there’s a ways to go, and we expect good things from Isaiah this weekend.”
Richardson having a leg up on Pead has been a consistent theme since both running backs became Rams in 2012. St. Louis snagged Richardson from Abilene Christian with its last pick, the second-to-last in the entire draft. Richardson carried the ball 98 times for 475 yards in 2012. Pead totaled 10 touches for 54 yards.
This year’s camp offered a clean slate, one Pead put an early black mark on when the NFL suspended him for the season opener against Atlanta due to a substance abuse violation. While that misstep hasn’t limited his reps, his performance against the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 8 probably did. Pead carried the ball just three times, fumbling once.
“Obviously, he was disappointed last week in the fumble,” Schottenheimer said. “We talked about that with him. We said, ‘Hey, don’t let one play take away all the great things you’ve done.'”
“He’s still a young player. You’ve got to teach him. But build on the great things he’s doing out here on the practice field and carry that over to the field.”
Carrying it over has always been the issue for Pead. He says he feels he is still getting “a fair shake” in the battle for the starting position. But he will need to show what he can do — soon.
“I’m ready for the next game,” he said. “And I’m excited for it.”
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