Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notes: Backfield Mix Provides Different Looks, More Competition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notes: Backfield Mix Provides Different Looks, More Competition

Article excerpt

Even if it means losing a few carries, Rams running backs Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham are all for rookie Tre Mason joining the backfield mix.

Mason, a third-round draft pick in May, made his NFL debut Monday and fared well. He ran five times for 40 yards, including a team- best 24-yarder, and added a 12-yard pass reception.

"Tre did some great things for us," said Stacy, who leads the team with 240 rushing yards this season after coming up just 27 yards short of 1,000 as a rookie last season. "At the end of the day, it's all about doing what we need to do as a team to find a way to win the game."

Cunningham, who has run for 133 yards and two touchdowns this season, agrees. "I feel like whoever has the hot hand at the time is the guy who should get the ball," he said. "We're not selfish players; we're just trying to help the team any way we can, as running backs and as special-teams players."

Stacy, Cunningham, Mason, Tavon Austin and rookie Trey Watts have had carries from the backfield this season for the Rams, who rank No. 18 in the league with 106 rushing yards a game.

Each of the Rams' runners has his own style, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said the key is trying to take advantage of that.

"Early in the game, we try to get guys multiple touches (and) then we try to go with the hot hand late in the game," he said. "Most places that I've been that have really good running games, they had the people to spread the ball around. Different backs bring different types of plays."

And then there is the competition factor.

"At this level, you're competing every single day," Stacy said. "We push each other and that makes us better as individuals and as a team."

SHORT-HANDED SEAHAWKS

Six Seattle players, including four starters, will sit out Sunday's game with the Rams. They include middle linebacker and top tackler Bobby Wagner (toe), center Max Unger (foot), cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) and tight end Zach Miller (ankle).

Also ruled out are defensive end Cassius Marsh (foot) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle). …

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