I know this is something St. Louis Rams fans don’t want to think about but who backs up Steven Jackson in 2010? Who would step in if he were to suffer an injury? Based on his history of heavy workloads and a rookie starting quarterback it’s a question that has to be asked, isn’t it? So who will be Jackson’s hand cuff this year? Unfortunately, head coach Steve Spagnuolo isn’t even sure.
“I think Kenny Darby played a little bit better last week,” Spagnuolo said. “Oby’ has done some good things, a good third-down back, but somebody has to surface there so in the — knock on wood — event that we need a running back we’ll have somebody to go (in).” (per Bellevue News-Democrat)
What I take from that quote is that Spags hasn’t seen a capable number two running back on his current roster. Key, being current roster. The Rams have three contenders for the position and one of them better step up tonight against the New England Patriots or the team may start scouring the waiver wire.
So who are these three contenders?
First, Kenneth Darby. He’s been by far the best of the trio this preseason, rushing the ball eight times for 25 yards. He’s averaging a hair over three yards per carry, nothing to look highly upon but like I said he’s been the best of the group to date. Over his three year career, Darby has averaged 4.9 yards per carry but that number is pretty deceiving as he’s been one of those guys who gets ten plus yards one rush, then a bunch of nothing in his others.
Darby’s does have a one claim to fame, he was the Rams player that laid out by referee Garth DeFelice in a 2008 game.
Next is “Oby”, Chris Ogbonnaya. So far Oby has rushed the ball 12 times for a whopping 20 yards. He has shown some promise as a receiving back thou catching six balls for 35 yards, which is most likely why Spagnuolo calls him a third down back. Oby was a seventh round pick in 2009 and only appeared in two games in the subsequent season, he’s young and has a lot of room to grow. I know it sounds a lot like his fellow teammates doesn’t it?
Finally, you’ve got undrafted rookie Keith Toston. Toston’s actually gotten a bulk of the carries, which isn’t a surprise as the bottom feeders do get most the playing time in early preseason outings. How’s he done? 17 carries for 39 yards, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. Nothing spectacular but when you see his competition, Spags will keep him in consideration.
So, yea where do the Rams go from here? One of these guys is going to have to step up in tonight’s game big time. If they don’t, do the Rams start looking at the free agent market for a backup? There’s not much out there but I’m sure they won’t find much worse.
All I have to say is Rams fans, I hope your offensive line steps it up big time because if Jackson gets hurt things then your team might be playing for the number one draft pick in 2011.
Don’t forget to check out our 2010 NFL Preview – St. Louis Rams.