Isaiah Pead suspended Week 1 for violating NFLís substance abuse policy
Last year’s 50th overall pick, Pead became the latest Rams player to be suspended at least one game of the 2013 regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Earlier this offseason, Rams offensive guard Rokevious Watkins was suspended for the Week 1 of the 2013 season due to violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Watkins was expected to contend for playing time this season. But now the Rams will also end up missing another player on the offense in the 2013 season opener, after running back Pead played 15 games with one start last season.
However, both Watkins and Pead are eligible to participate in the Rams’ offseason workout programs as well as training camp, and will return to the active roster after Week 1. However, any amount of time missed this year could be a big blow a player such as Pead, who got behind the learning curve last year due to the league’s rules that prevent players from attending spring practices while their school year is still ongoing. He eventually slipped on the depth, falling behind fellow 2012 draftee Daryl Richardson, who took over the No.2 running back spot behind Steven Jackson.
But with Jackson signing as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, Pead was expected to compete for increased playing time and potentially a bigger role in the Rams’ backfield. Although the Rams selected running back Zac Stacy in the fifth-round f this year’s draft, Pead was still considered to be among the top options in a wide-open competition for the starting job this season. This could have helped Pead turn the page on a disappointing rookie season after he carried the ball just 10 times for 54 yards in 2012.
Still, any amount of lost snaps by Pead could prove costly this year while he is still trying to establish his place on the roster. Once again, the likes of Richardson,Stacy, second-year player Terrance Ganaway or some else on the depth chart will have could potentially usurp Pead’s place in the RB rotation. The Rams could also use this year’s first-round pick Tavon Austin in the backfield, incase of a lack of production, since he’s had experience at the position while at West Virginia.