Note from TST Staff: Anyone who doesn't wish Tev a Happy Birthday will be sent to live with 49ers fans, or have 3k sleeping on their couch for a month! Happy Birthday Tev!
The Rams haven't made it a secret that they will run the ball the season, even before the draft Jeff Fisher said "It's a team that's going to run the football and protect the quarterback and play good defense and get the ball back," Plus, it's Jeff Fisher, he will probably adjust his philosophy, but the man likes to run the ball, and with a quarterback who had the season that Bradford did last year can you blame him?
Before the draft there were rumors about the Rams being interested in Trent Richardson, but he was scooped up by the Cleveland Browns. So it really wasn't a shock when the Rams drafted a running back, the only shock was that it was in the second round, but it was a player that has the potential to help the Rams out of their losing slump.
That player was Isaiah Pead, who wasn't the fastest player in the draft, but he is fast, quick, and agile, compare that with Steven Jackson's toughness and you have a duo that could compare to Jeff Fishers former running back duo Chris Johnson and Lendale White, but will they have the type of success as the former 08 duo? Will they be the next Smash and Dash?
More after the jump.
The Quick History of Jeff Fisher's Smash and Dash
In 2008 Jeff Fisher drafted Chris Johnson in the latter parts of the first round and he was paired with Lendale White. In hindsight, there was no way anyone could predict how great Chris Johnson would be, and how good of a season White would put together. That year both players combined for 451 carries and rushed for 2001 yards, and they accounted for 24 touchdowns.
During this time another duo, came along and tried to take the Smash and Dash name. Those two players were Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but then they decided to just go by Double Trouble. IF they would have waited until the off-season, they could have kept the nickname, because after the 2008 Chris Johnson decided he wanted to go solo (like all great groups do) and become "Every Coaches Dream."
How this duo will effect Sam Bradford?
Now I know everyone wants to know how Sam Bradford and the offense will play next season. Well honestly I can't tell you that, but I can tell you that even with both running backs taking 451 snaps, the Titans QB Kerry Collins threw the ball 415 times. That's a balanced offense and I wouldn't be surpised to see Fisher do that this season. The Titans went 13-3 using this formula.
Why this duo won't work
There are many legitimate reasons as to why the Jackson and Pead dynamic won't work. Obviously, even though I'm a big fan of Isaiah Pead, he does have holes in his game. His biggest weakness is his pass protection, and he isn't the best receiver when players are around him. He will have to improve on those key areas if he's going to get a lot of playing time.
Another factor is Sam Bradford. Maybe the Rams decide to throw more late in games, because they are down by a lot of points. The weapons around Bradford could improve during the course of the year, and maybe the Rams decide to throw the ball more. Hell, maybe Bradford just develops enough and get's enough confidence and decides to have a Matthew Stafford type of season.
Lastly, you have Steven Jackson. Even though he's gotten older, the 37 ranked NFL player still has some gas in his tank left. He's made it no secret that he takes pride in being an every down player. The only time Jackson is out of a game is when he's hurt, or he really needs a breather.
Why this duo will work
Steven Jackson is a beast, but he isn't getting any younger. He's going to be 29 soon, and even though he's been consistent, you have to think that he's on the downward slope, if not this year, then eventually. Jeff Fisher knows that Steven Jackson has more than 2,000 carries on his body, which is why he drafted his backup and maybe successor in Pead.
Jackson takes pride in being an every down back, and that's an quality that I always admired about him, but here's a quote I found on him last season.
"That was something that I was uncomfortable with in the past, because I knew if I came out I felt the level of play goes down somewhat. This year that's not a concern of mine. Peace of mind, yes, for myself and the team."
That quote was made last year before the regular season, and although Pead is a rookie, Jackson should feel that Pead is at least capable of being as good as the group of running backs backing him up last season.
While Isaiah Pead isn't as good of a passblocker, as you would want on 3rd down, he's still a hell of a runner. Pead, has the speed to turn a 3 yard gain, into an 20 yard gain, which is great to have in a running back. He will have to adjust, but on his runs in college (option system), he had enough vision to see cutback lanes. There is a lot to like when watching Isaiah Pead, and him being the opposite of Jackson will be the key of the running game.
In theory, the defense will be worried about tackling Jackson, then you bring in Pead, and they will have to adjust to tackling a smaller and faster running back, and then you possibly bring in both at the same time and the defense starts to get tired, which will make play actions work better.
Dashing to the endzone
Maybe Steven Jackson and Isaiah Pead won't be the second coming of Smash and Dash, maybe Jackson will just do his thing and Pead will just be a solid backup. However with the offense expecting to have growing pains, and Steven Jackson facing the wrong side of 30, maybe this Jackson and Pead duo will work.
If it does, maybe it's best if those two don't call themselves Smash and Dash, because Jeff Fisher he might have another nickname for the duo.
For your viewing pleasure, here's A Week in the Life With Steven Jackson: The Directors Cut