It seems as though it's becoming more and more a relevant topic at the conclusion of each preseason game, but running back Daryl Richardson's name and the word 'competition' seem to more readily find one another. And rightfully so…
The seventh round selection from Abilene Christian continues to impress, and catch the eye of both coaches and fans. Last nights game against the Cowboys gave some skeptical fans exactly what they were asking for - more Daryl.
A few weeks ago, second round pick Isaiah Pead seemed to have all but locked up the backup role. Yet as each preseason game has concluded, Richardson has begun to see more snaps earlier in the game. The starting carries were essentially split on Saturday night, but the results [statistically] weren't indicative of the order in which they were drafted.
Is there competition for No. 2 behind Steven Jackson. Jeff Fisher's not even sure…
He finished with 10 carries for 51 yards, to Pead’s nine carries for 22. Is there now a competition for the No. 2 spot behind Steven Jackson?
"No. I wouldn’t say ..." Fisher said. "We’ll see what happens. There’s special teams contributions that are going to have a lot to do with how we sort it out when we get to 46 (the game-day roster)."
Maybe I'm misinterpreting what's [not] being said, but it appears he was about to say something, remembered what his mother told him about fibs, and then went with a more vague - and honest - response.
What he could be [not] saying, though, is that we're not the only ones taking notice of how well Richardson is performing in this preseason. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We are indeed talking about the backup running back position. The Rams didn't take Pead in the 2nd round only to base his spot on the depth chart solely through three games…did they?
The lack of excitement that Pead has had in the running game has, however, been in full display on special teams. In last night's game, he had three kickoff returns averaging over 31 yards per, one of which was good for 47 yards.
Pead's first return, in my opinion, was much like a lot of the rushing we see from him. He runs hard at first, hits some traffic, stutters for a moment, loses his footing, and the the play is over. The remainder of his returns were legit, though, and helped put the Rams in great field position. Richardson, however, seems to be looking for the hole, and heading straight upfield. Additionally, he showed some nice agility with a cut on one play - which looked to be a loss in the backfield - but turned it into a positive gain, and enough for first down yardage.
Some of the blame could certainly be directed toward less-than-stellar blocking from the front five. And though Richardson's stats last night certainly look far superior than that of the guy drafted five rounds before him, it's fair to say that there are no certainties about the depth of our roster, or who's even going to be on the final one. Personally, I'd be ok with a timeshare. Let SJAX carry the majority of the load, and let the two youngsters give a different look to the opposition.
It wouldn't be much fun if we didn't vote, though. Tis the season…