Folks around this neck of the woods have known for a while that Steven Jackson would not be back in a blue and gold uniform. Yet, when news struck that the St. Louis Rams all-time rushing yards leader signed with the Atlanta Falcons, it still stung a bit.
Yes, I wil miss seeing Steven don the golden horns. Like I have said before, he and Marshall Faulk are the only Rams ball carriers I know. I am accustomed to great running back play. It can be said differently about receiver play post-Bruce and Holt, but that's another post.
What made it easy to transition away from Faulk was that the Rams had Jackson already in place. The team and the fans knew SJ was able to carry the team. This time around, replacing Jackson has taken a different route. The team's front office surely has a plan, but the fans definitely do not know what is up their sleeves.
Sure, last year's rookie backs – second-rounder Isaiah Pead and seventh-rounder Daryl Richardson – figure to be in the mix. Their presence, as a matter of fact, made SJax expendable. But, at the same time, neither player showed that they had the chops to take the carry on the torch without missing a step. Richardson is a fast, one-cut and go runner. Pead never really got anything rolling for him. Nevertheless, coach Fisher is confident in his two running backs, and the Rams are moving forward.
What is yet to be seen is if Fisher & Co. will look to bring in another option to the backfield. Jackson was a beast of a running back. At 6'2 240 pounds, he was the type of ball carrier that trucked through defenders. Pead (5'11, 197 lbs) and Richardson (5'10) definitely do not fit that mold. Do the Rams pick up a bruising RB? The team has a big back in the form of Terrance Ganaway (6'0, 240 lbs), but he didn't have a single carry during the season. I'd consider him a question mark right now.
Drafting a back is an option. Some have mocked Alabama's Eddie Lacy to the Rams in the first round, but is that to early? We have seen teams have success with backs drafted in the latter rounds. Another thing to consider is Fisher's lofty praise of Pead. One would assume Isaiah would at least get an opportunity to show what he's got.
What would y'all do?