August 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (26) carries the ball as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jalil Brown (30) defends in the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams may have a new competition brewing on the roster, an unexpected one. Second-round pick Isaiah Pead is struggling to translate solid work on the practice field to preseason play. Seventh-round pick Daryl Richardson has not, and will now see his playing time increased as a result.
Head coach Jeff Fisher expressed his confidence in Steven Jackson following Monday's practice. He made it sound as though Jackson's high-powered performance through two preseason games, will likely get his workload cut for the final two in order to mix Pead and Richardson in behind the starting offensive line.
"We're going to try to put them in position where we can play them quite a bit in the next couple weeks," Fisher said. "Jack(Steven Jackson) showed that Jack's ready to go this year. He came out of the blocks quick. We're going to try to get him as many reps as we can. The staff has talked about trying to get their reps with the 1s. Get them in there and let them run behind with the first group."
Pead's debut performance was marred by a botched handoff and a fumble. Last week against the Chiefs, Pead struggled to get yardage, losing nine yards on one carry, an unacceptable mistake that occurred as he tried to bounce one outside. Nerves and a rookie tendency to take that outside route, an easy play in college, can be coached away. It is fair to wonder whether or not that can happen in time for the regular season.
Richardson ran well on Saturday, picking up 35 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. That did come against the Chiefs' second- and third-team defense, making the preseason caveat important to note.
The Rams starting offensive line has done a nice job of run blocking so far. Working behind that group will give the coaching staff a better idea of what both rookies are capable of doing. With just two preseason games left, there is no more foregone conclusion that Pead will start the season as Jackson's primary complement.
Related: DC took a closer look at Richardson on Monday.