Rams want to get their running game going
Rams coach Jeff Fisher does not want the team’s running backs to
be judged solely on the preseason stats.
However, it doesn’t mean he’s not concerned about their
”That’s an area where we need to improve on, but we haven’t had
opportunities in the games to really just line up,” Fisher said
after Monday’s practice.
The Rams finish the preseason on Thursday against Baltimore.
The Rams are making a transition to a life without perennial
1,000-yard rusher Steven Jackson, who left via free agency to
They are averaging a little more than 3 yards a carry from their
top four running backs, a year after the team ranked 19th in the
league in yards per game with a 107.1 average.
Daryl Richardson, tabbed as the team’s starter earlier this
month, has 34 yards on nine carries in the first three games of the
”I feel pretty good about the running game,” he said. ”We’ve
just got to execute and get better every day, all just be on the
same page and eliminate penalties.”
Richardson is coming off a rookie season in which he gained 475
yards on 98 carries in a backup role to Jackson.
Isaiah Pead’s role might be more questionable. The second-year
player out of Cincinnati carried the ball just 10 times in 2012 and
is suspended for the 2013 season opener for violating the league’s
substance abuse policy.
He’s had the most carries this preseason with 19, gaining 59
yards. He also has the only lost fumble by a running back.
”I’ve been trying to prove myself since I came here. Really,
the only difference is that Steven’s gone,” Pead said. ”I still
come in, ready to work, trying to find a spot on the team whether
it be special team or offense.”
The Rams game at Denver last Saturday was another missed chance
for the running backs to get work.
St. Louis planned to work on its running attack, only to change
as the game unfolded.
Lineman Rodger Saffold, returning from a shoulder injury that
limited his work leading up to the game, lasted the entire first
half after it was anticipated he might only play a handful of
The Rams have also wanted to focus on their passing game and
this year’s top draft choice Tavon Austin and third-rounder Stedman
Bailey at receiver. Fisher wants to enhance the downfield options
for quarterback Sam Bradford.
He said if that part of the game develops, it can only serve to
help his young running backs, that includes two second-year players
and two rookies in the top four on the depth chart.
That has limited the chances for rookies Zac Stacy, a
fifth-round choice from Vanderbilt, and Benny Cunningham, from
Middle Tennessee State who signed as an undrafted free agent. But
both should play a role in the upcoming season.
How much might be determined Thursday.
”I think you’ll probably see some more,” Fisher said.
””We’ll get a chance to look at them this week. With Isaiah not
being available to us in Week 1, we’ll have to look at all the
NOTES: TE Cory Harkey could miss up to a month with a fracture
in his leg suffered Saturday at Denver. The second-year player got
significant time during the preseason as top TE Lance Kendricks
recovers from offseason knee surgery. …The Rams announced 11 cuts
as they close in on Tuesday’s deadline to reduce the roster to the
NFL-mandated 75 players. St. Louis released K/P Brett Baer, WR
Demetrius Fields, WR Andrew Helmick, LS Jorgen Hus, QB Tim Jenkins,
DT Al Lapuaho, LB Joseph Lebeau, TE Colby Prince, WR Raymond Radway
and CB Robert Steeples.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org