That announcement came via the team’s training camp media guide which was released in advance of the club commencing said camp on July 25. Marshall Faulk was the last guy not named Steven Jackson starting in the backfield for the Rams, and that was way back in 2004. This team has certainly undergone quite a changing of the guard over a short period of two offseasons with head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead running the show.
From the depth chart assembled at the start of 2011 – the last one under the previous regime – the Rams have just two starters on offense remaining in Sam Bradford and Harvey Dahl with tight end Lance Kendricks being the only other name still left. Defensively a few more players remain with three surefire starters in Robert Quinn, Chris Long, and James Laurinatis. Darian Stewart has a shot at starting in 2013, but he has been merely a depth guy for the past two seasons. And obviously special teams has seen a complete remake with Greg Zuerlein and Johnny Hekker now manning the kicking and punting duties, respectively.
It isn’t an accident that just seven total players in prominent roles remain from a roster that went 2-14 in 2011. This franchise has undergone a lot of change, and the running back position is just going to be another one of those joining the long list with new starters in 2013.
As for the competition in the backfield, it’s very likely that the team simply put Richardson at the top of the depth chart because he saw the most action last season, Isaiah Pead is suspended for Week 1, and Zac Stacy is a mere rookie. These guys will all be battling it out for carries in training camp, but clearly Richardson has several factors working in his favor to warrant the lion’s share of the totes this season.
And don’t forget Tavon Austin who coach Fisher believes will line up all over the field as a rookie. He carried the ball 72 times for 643 yards as a senior at West Virginia so he is more than capable of putting up numbers from the backfield.
July 25 will start this month and a half long competition between these young guys to see who merits the bulk of the workload seven yards behind Bradford under center. Regardless of who is eventually given the designation as ‘starter’, the Rams figure to use all of the backs in some facet during the upcoming season.