There’s been much debate as to whom - more so how much - the ball will be dispersed amongst rushers for the St. Louis Rams in the absence of Steven Jackson. Daryl Richardson earned the "go-to" tag in 2012 when Jackson was in need of a breather. Isaiah Pead, who will miss the first game of the season, came on late at the end of the year, but still has a lot to prove if he’s going to carry the majority of the workload for the Rams. Lastly, the Rams traded up two sixth round picks in this most recent draft in order to select Zac Stacy; a Vanderbilt product who’s got the build and skill sets to be an every down back in the league.
Pete Prisco - over at CBS Sports - wrote an article yesterday covering viable replacements for "big name" NFL players - who’ve recently moved on from their former team, or will be missing time due to injury. Steven Jackson is a big name.
Opinions - like yours, mine, and Pete - can only carry so much weight. There’s still a lot of offseason left to go, along with plenty of camp battles on the horizon. There’s plenty of time for standout for performances, and unfortunately the opportunity for injury still exists. But if all were to play out as Prisco sees it, then the Rams would indeed have one lone RB who could carry the rock past the 1,000 yard mark in 2013:
The player: Steven Jackson, RB
The team: St. Louis Rams
The skinny: The Rams let Jackson leave as a free agent and he signed with the Falcons. Jackson is still a good player, but aging running backs are tough to pay to keep.
Replacements: This will likely be a back-by-committee approach with second-year players Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead competing with rookie Zac Stacy for time. Richardson rushed for 475 yards as a rookie and averaged 4.8 per carry. The Rams want to get him the ball more in the passing game after he had 24 catches last season. Pead had just 54 rushing yards last season, but he should get more time and has the quickness the Rams like.
Prognosis: I like getting young at running back, but replacing Jackson will be tough. Richardson's 4.8-per carry average has to give the Rams some hope. I think he can be a 1,000-yard rusher in his second season.