What exactly was rookie running back Isaiah Pead drafted to do in St. Louis? Well, considering he was a second-round pick, the University of Cincinnati product would seem to have a pretty prominent role in store this season and in the years beyond. Incumbent St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson has a different take on the situation.
Appearing on PFT Live, where he also talked about his desire to retire with the Rams, Jackson took on a defensive tone when it came to Pead's role with the offense.
"Yeah. I actually see him being a backup. If it's the way I want it, to continue to live out the legacy of my career, I will continue to be the workhorse. He can relieve me at times during the game, or when we need a change of pace against the defense."
Jackson went on to say that he see figures to get "25 to 30 plus touches" each game.
Pead, as a second-round pick, is going to be figure more heavily into the offense than Jackson thinks. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer used Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson in a pretty heavy rotation. LT carried far less of a load last year, his final year, as the career totals started to add up. In 2010, it was more of a 60-40 split.
Fisher's own history with running backs should provide some clues as well. LenDale White was written out of the equation two years after the team drafted Chris Johnson. Now, Pead and Jackson are not exactly CJ2K and White, despite Fisher's comparison's for the Rams' rookie, but the precedent is there. Jackson also turns 29 this season.
More importantly, the Rams need a player like Pead working in their offense, not sitting on the bench waiting for Jackson to get hurt or some extra work in garbage time.
Jackson had nice things to say about Pead on June 12, after the team's minicamp:
"Very quick, very shifty. Really explosive. All the things that you read and hear about, he possesses those things. Nice young man as well. As the season goes, I'll get to know him a little more. You hate to try to comment on somebody after just meeting him for a couple days, but he's a great talent and a great kid so far."
In the past, Jackson has been antagonistic about the Rams bringing in a committee runner to pair with him. The guy has pride. As a veteran his stance has softened somewhat.
On that same PFT Live appearance Jackson made the comment that he and his agent have had some initial contact about retiring in a Rams uniform. Keep an eye on this situation as it relates to Jackson's contract. Right now, he has two years left at $7 million per season. An extension could clear cap space, or the Rams could go about it the other way should Pead prove to be more than a complement and Jackson unhappy with a reduced role.