St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson came into the season as the lead back in the team’s committee, but the Rams season ended with Vanderbilt rookie Zac Stacy as the clear feature back. Stacy’s emergence was incredible to watch, and it’s clear that the Rams organization has indeed found a gem in the hard-nosed rusher who was crucial in keeping the team competitive despite a passing attack that was anemic at times.
The Rams rushing attack is only going to be better next season with Stacy leading the way, Benny Cunningham in the mix, and Richardson and potentially Isaiah Pead breaking out. Pead has been a second-round flop ever since he was drafted in 2012, but he was a terrific all-purpose back at Cincinnati and still has potential worth waiting on until his rookie contract runs out.
Richardson was expected to be a big factor for the Rams this season after averaging 4.8 yards per carry as a rookie and showing plenty of burst and solid talent, but he managed to play in just seven games last year. The Boise State product was hampered by a turf toe injury throughout the season, and turf toes are among the most nagging injuries a player can suffer, especially a running back. He was inactive for the final eight games of the regular season due to the injury, and he only averaged 3.1 yards per carry when he was healthy.
Despite the poor numbers, Rams general manager Les Snead isn’t concerned, and it sounds like he sees a bounce back season from Richardson in 2014. Here’s what he said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, “Oh yeah, I think definitely. We’ve all seen what he can do. Some injuries derailed him a little bit. … What you like about the whole thing is as you bring in more players, as we all grow here, there’s more competition.”
As Snead indicates, the biggest thing that impacted Richardson last season was a lack of health, and a healthy Richardson in 2014 should be a productive Richardson. He has more than sufficient talent to be a quality No. 2 back to Stacy, and the Rams stable of RBs could be very deep if Pead can finally bank on his second-round draft stock.
Per a source close to Jim Thomas (as stated in the piece linked above), Richardson will not need surgery on his turf toe.