Rams reporter Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com has softened on his earlier expectations for rookie running back Tre Mason. In May, he wrote that he wouldn't be surprised if Mason overtook Zac Stacy for the starting job. In a chat on Friday, it was the exact opposite. Wagoner said he would be surprised if such a change occurred.
"Mason has a ways to go on things that go beyond simply running the football," Wagoner said.
But that doesn't mean Mason will be a total afterthought. Wagoner said about 8-10 carries per game for Mason "is probably about right."
Mason is struggling with pass protection, as most rookie running backs do. If he can't get that down, it will hurt his chances for playing time.
Head coach Jeff Fisher said earlier this year that Stacy has what it takes to be a true workhorse, He took on heavy workloads often as a rookie last season but averaged less than four yards per carry. The Rams may be hoping that Mason can provide some electricity in their running game while also giving Stacy some extra breathers. If Mason gets 130-160 carries, that would cut into Stacy's value significantly. He is currently being drafted as a high-end RB2, but that position probably needs to fall a bit if Mason is going to have as much work as is being speculated here. Mason is a high-priority handcuff and could have standalone flex appeal in some weeks.