Ranking the Running Game, Pt. 16: St. Louis Rams

Jeff LittleSenior Writer IMarch 27, 2008

Part 16 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise. There’s no denying the air of uncertainty hanging over the Rams’ organization this off-season after the team’s worst finish in its 13 seasons in St. Louis. The Rams’ finished the season with a 3-13 record. The Rams’ former owner Georgia Frontiere, passing away with no clear successor in place. The team’s long-term future in St. Louis could be in jeopardy. The team’s fan base is far from convinced that team President John Shaw made the right decision in hiring Scott Linehan as the head coach. He was granted a reprieve because of the multiple injuries making their presence felt weekly. The Rams’ won the last three games of 2006 to finish at 8-8 and there was a lot of optimism for the 2007 season. It all came crashing down quite quickly, a high-ankle sprain suffered by RG Richie Incognito began a string of injuries that decimated the offensive line and affected virtually every unit on the team. LT Orlando Pace, LG Mark Setterstrom, Incognito, DE Leonard Little, LB Pisa Tinoisamoa & CB Tye Hill were all starters, that ended the season; on injured reserve. These guys missed a total of 69 games. The highly touted offense scored only 263 points, its lowest total since the 1993 season. The offense scored just 24 touchdowns and had 37 turnovers. The defense surrendered 438 points, the second-highest total in franchise history. The Rams’ as a team rushed for 95 yards per game.  


St. Louis Rams

Steven Jackson   6’ 2” 231 lbs.    237 Att.     1,002 Yards 4.2 YPC Avg.    5 TD’s  


Brian Leonard      6’ 1” 226 lbs.    86 Att.        303 Yards  3.5 YPC Avg.


Travis Minor       5’ 10” 203 lbs.   17 Att.          68 Yards  4.0 YPC Avg.  

Antonio Pittman   5’ 11” 207 lbs.  38 Att.         139 Yards 3.7 YPC Avg.

Rich Alexis          6’ 0” 213 lbs.       2nd year player from Univ. of Washington

Steven Jackson carried the load rushing for the Rams’ and scored all 5 of the teams’ rushing touchdowns despite missing four games due to groin & back injuries. As he got healthy toward the end of the season, he had one stretch where he had a run of at least 40 yards in four straight games. Brian Leonard proved to be a jack-of-all-trades playing as the feature back, third-down back & blocking fullback. Leonard did what he could to help the team but he doesn’t have the size to be the blocking fullback, he looks suited for a utility role. Antonio Pittman has shown flashes but the jury is still out on him, Travis Minor and Rich Alexis provide depth at the position. The Rams’ don’t have a huge need to select a running back in this draft but will later in the draft. However, the team desperately needs to find players who can contribute immediately. Holding the number 2 overall pick in the draft the Rams’ are in prime position to fill one of their two biggest needs with Chris Long, Jake Long or Glen Dorsey. The Rams could also shock everyone and draft Darren McFadden. The Rams’ could dangle Steven Jackson as trade bait and trade down with a team who wants to move up to draft Darren McFadden to acquire more draft picks to fill more needs. Steven Jackson is in the final year of his rookie contract with the team.

The question for the Rams: Which Long on draft day will be calling St. Louis home?