August 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead (24) runs as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham (24) and defensive back Omar Brown (45) defend during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Isaiah Pead Invisible On Offense In St. Louis Rams' Week 1 Loss

Isaiah Pead may be the St. Louis Rams' running back of the future, but in Week 1 vs. the Detroit Lions he was the clear third-string back.

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Isaiah Pead A Non-Factor In St. Louis Rams' Week 1 Loss

Whether you were a St. Louis Rams fan excited about the future at running back or a Steven Jackson owner terrified about his fantasy football future, Isaiah Pead's performance Sunday was so extreme as to create as many questions as it answered. Why? Because he didn't just not play much—he got zero offensive touches, two fewer than his seventh-round counterpart, Daryl Richardson. This despite Steven Jackson averaging fewer than three yards per carry across his own 21 carries.

Pead handled the Rams' only kick return, if it's any consolation, picking up 25 yards. Richardson, who gained 20 yards on his two carries, did nothing to suggest he should get less playing time, which means the Rams' second-round pick is in an odd position going into Week 2; if the Rams want to play him more, it's going to have to come from somewhere.

WIth Jackson on the wrong side of 22—seriously, it's terrifying how fast running back age—the likely answer remains out of Steven Jackson's touches. 21 carries a night is a 336 carry pace, and that's not something Jackson was especially capable of even in his prime. But for now, Isaiah Pead remains one of the most confusing weapons in the Rams' new offense.

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Isaiah Pead Notches Zero Touches In St. Louis Rams' Week 1 Loss

The St. Louis Rams have talked about Isaiah Pead as their running back of the future (and the lightning to Steven Jackson's thunder) since they drafted him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft back in April, but in their Week 1 loss vs. the Detroit Lions he was invisible on offense, notching zero touches and finding himself behind Daryl Richardson on the depth chart. To put it simply: Sunday, Danny Amendola (one) had more carries than Isaiah Pead.

On special teams Pead made the Rams' lone kick return, taking it 25 yards downfield. But Danny Amendola handled the punt, and that was the extent of Pead's impact on the game. Steven Jackson, in spite of his ineffectiveness—he had just 53 yards on the ground—was only back to earn significant playing time, taking 21 carries and tying for the team lead with four receptions.

Eventually the Rams might find a need to rest Jackson a little more than they did last week, and when that happens we might get an extended chance to see what Isaiah Pead can do. But it must have been worrisome for him to watch Daryl Richardson, his seventh-round competition, take two carries for 20 yards.

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St. Louis Rams' Plans For Isaiah Pead Still Mysterious As Week 1 Dawns

The St. Louis Rams will play the Detroit Lions later Sunday, but even after three preseason games and months of talk about running-backs-of-the-future it's hard to know just what their role for Isaiah Pead will look like in Week 1 of the 2012 season. Pead, the Rams' second-round pick and ostensible foil to Steven Jackson, only saw consistent success as a return man in the preseason, struggling mightily in his first offensive carries before breaking through in the preseason's final game.

With all that in mind, he did manage to stay ahead of seventh-round preseason-hero Daryl Richardson on the depth chart, and as the backup running back he'll be doing something on offense while the Rams try to keep Steven Jackson's carries down. The question has morphed, to his benefit, from, "Will he do something?" to "What will he be doing?"

But we still don't know what he will be doing. Provided the Rams' offense remains close enough to the Detroit Lions' on Sunday to keep the rushing game on the table, we'll get to see what a talented rookie with two functioning legs will be able to do in the Cadillac Williams role.

For more updates on Sunday's Rams vs. Lions game, and up-to-the-minute score, fantasy, and injury updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis's Rams-Lions storystream.

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