Since the 2013 campaign kicked off, the St. Louis Rams have been desperately searching for a running back capable of carrying the load.
The Rams gave Daryl Richardson the opportunity when the season kicked off, but the second-year runner couldn’t maintain any sort of significant production. Then Isaiah Pead got a shot, but didn’t fare much better. Even undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham was given a chance, and did little with it.
On Sunday, the Rams went with 2013 fifth-round pick Zac Stacy as their starting running back. Although it wasn’t exactly a fireworks show, the rookie certainly gave St. Louis something to be excited about moving forward.
Appearing in only his second game of the season, Stacy racked up 78 yards on only 14 carries (5.6 yards per carry). He forced two missed tackles and picked up 45 yards after contact. The Vanderbilt product also excelled as a pass blocker, and ended the game with a 1.4 overall rating according to Pro Football Focus.
Albeit against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their pitiful defense, Stacy’s performance should be more than enough to earn him another start in Week 6. Before leaving in the fourth quarter after having the wind knocked out of him, Stacy showed excellent balance and surprising strength up the middle considering his 5’8’’, 216-pound frame.
Richardson received 13 carries on the game, and was much less effective, picking up 48 yards (3.7 yards per carry). Following Stacy’s breakout performance, the Week 1 starter might soon see his role dwindle to near nothing.
Stacy was an underrated runner coming out of college. After an über-productive career at Vanderbilt, he’s now turned his sights towards being an effective NFL ball-carrier.
If his first start was any bit of foreshadowing, Stacy could be putting up big numbers for the Rams soon.