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St. Louis Rams training camp 2013: The running back battle begins

Jeff Fisher left open a range of possibilities for his running back situation.


Anything could happen when it comes to the St. Louis Rams' running back battle. Head coach Jeff Fisher left all the possibilities wide open following Thursday's practice.

"I'm not saying that we don't have one that can," Fisher said when asked about finding a lead rusher. "We just haven't seen him do it yet. One of them may emerge and carry it 350 times this year, we don't know. But offensively, it's nice to have two or three guys in a rotation just because there's different ability levels at the position."

A small platoon of running backs worked the field during the team's first practice. During 11-on-11 drills, it was Daryl Richardson doing most of the work with the first team. Isaiah Pead rotated in some. Zac Stacy, a fifth-round pick this year, spent most of his time with the second and third team, gashing through the middle and showing off the powerful running style that made him the SEC's leading rusher last year.

Fisher acknowledged that the situation was something of a first for him, in almost two decades as an NFL head coach. "I've usually had a guy,' he said.

For now, the most likely outcome is still a committee situation, but Fisher didn't suggest which players might form the primary members of that committee. That's what the competition in camp will determine.

"It's not going to be out of the question that we don't play two or three of them quite a bit," he said. "We may not end up with a ‘bellcow' like we've had last year in ‘Jack' and previous years, and just let them all play."

Running back committees are not an entirely new experience for Fisher. In 2008 with the Titans, LenDale White and Chris Johnson, in his rookie season, split the load. White had 200 carries, and Johnson carried the rock another 251 times.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has more experience with time shares in his backfield, most successfully in 2010 when LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 1,680 rushing yards and a combined average of 4.15 yards per carry.

Obviously, the Rams don't have a player like Tomlinson in the mix. But all three of the leading contenders for playing time -- Richardson, Pead, Stacy -- have shown enough in limited exposure to tease at what a young hydra of backs could do for a Rams offense that desperately needs to score points this season.