ST. LOUIS — Jeff Fisher had been mostly mum when asked how he plans to spark one of the NFL’s most anemic backfields.
“We’re going to get it fixed. That’s all I’m going to tell you. We’re going to get it fixed,” the St. Louis Rams coach said after his team whimpered its way to 18 rushing yards on 19 attempts in its third straight loss on Thursday.
But the player who may or may not lose his starting job as Fisher searches for solutions was a bit more open Tuesday evening. When a fan used Twitter to ask Daryl Richardson if he was still the Rams’ starter, Richardson responded … perhaps a bit too honestly.
“Not this week man,” Richardson wrote back in a Tweet that, before it was deleted, created a flurry of fantasy football activity and a healthy dose of backpedaling by the Rams.
“I’ll discuss it,” Fisher said of Richardson’s message. “I don’t think he meant it. He’s coming off some injuries and he just needs to be more thoughtful about his responses.”
“(Fisher) was saying it’s going to be a competition,” Richardson added. “I was just talking to one of my fans on there. I didn’t mean nothing like that though.”
While that’s nice, it appears the cat is out of the bag. Richardson, who has started three out of four games, is averaging 2.7 yards per carry and has yet to score or break a run longer than 10 yards. He’s also been dealing with issues from an injured foot.
Meanwhile, the Rams (1-3) have attempted just 73 rushes, totaled an NFL-worst 189 rushing yards and find themselves alongside the Cleveland Browns in an unwanted pairing: They’re the only two teams yet to score a rushing touchdown in 2013.
To be fair, this struggle to run is not solely on Richardson’s shoulders. The St. Louis offensive line needs to improve. And other backfield options have failed to dazzle. Isaiah Pead has carried seven times for 21 yards while fumbling twice; he was also mysteriously declared inactive in the Rams’ most recent game. Benny Cunningham has 10 carries for 22 yards and one fumble. And while Tavon Austin has been floated as a rushing threat more and more, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the 5-foot-9, 175-pound lottery pick regularly runs between the tackles.
This leads us to Zac Stacy.
“Right now we don’t know who is starting for sure,” the rookie out of Vanderbilt said Wednesday. “The only thing I’m doing is preparing my butt off for the week.”
Stacy has just one carry this year, a 4-yard rush against the Cardinals in a Week 1 win. He welcomes the chance for an increased workload, if it comes.
“It would mean a lot,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a reflection of the coaches, the type of guys we have, putting their trust in me. Regardless of what happens, I’m just going to be prepared and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Judging by the stir Richardson created on Twitter, the biggest opportunity of Stacy’s short professional career could come Sunday.
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org