The St. Louis Rams' decision to upgrade its backup running backs could pay dividends for their starter, Steven Jackson.
It’s hard to imagine many scenarios in which a team that already starts Steven Jackson signs Cadillac Williams and manages to upgrade at the position, but such is the nature of Jackson’s tenure with the St. Louis Rams: Getting backups for Jackson might be the ultimate coup. After years of apparent hostility toward the idea of competent backups, the x-time Pro Bowler was apparently open enough following the NFL lockout for the Rams to sign Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood, the best-pedigreed players behind Jackson since Stephen Davis's ill-advised final season in 2006.
If it means Jackson won’t again threaten to lead the league in attempts the Rams might have a completely different starting running back in 2011--one who, freed up from third-down duties, averages more than four yards per carry. Josh McDaniels’s offense is likely to leave Sam Bradford swinging for the fences relative to Pat Shurmur’s moribund line-of-scrimmage attack; a more dynamic Jackson and a dependably mediocre Williams would provide the perfect counterbalance.
Now all the Rams have to do is convince Jackson to let their new backups have the ball. Ask Kenneth Darby: It’s not an easy thing to do.