As the St. Louis Rams prepare for their crucial week four matchup with the Seattle Seahawks their tenuous situation at backup running back moves to the front of the team’s list of offensive concerns. With Steven Jackson limited in practice all week with a groin strain, the Rams will look to journeymen Kenneth Darby, Chauncey Washington, and Keith Toston to pick up any slack that already-heavily utilized rookie Sam Bradford drops.
In an era of tandem backfields the Rams are as dependent on their starter as any team in football; even after missing the second half of the team’s week three win against the Washington Redskins, Jackson has 51 carries to 30 from his backups. Worse still, he’s also the only one to average more than three yards a carry.
Kenneth Darby, who ran for an important touchdown after Jackson went down last week, has already seen nearly as much action as he did in his two previous years with the Rams. The former seventh round pick came into the season with just 61 carries in his three year career.
With Jackson’s availability in doubt the Rams also added New York Jets practice squad-member Chauncey Washington, who’s rushed four times for nine yards in his brief NFL career to date. When Jackson returns, Washington could compete with Keith Toston for playing time. Toston, an undrafted rookie who made 11 carries for 22 yards after Jackson left last week, was forced backward on two consecutive goal-line rushes in the second quarter.