Opportunity there for Isaiah Pead in return

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams will welcome back running back Isaiah Pead this week after he served a one-game suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

Pead missed Sunday's game against Arizona, and Zac Stacy got what limited reps were available behind starter Daryl Richardson. Monday afternoon, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Pead is already back in the fold.

"He's back in the building and he'll be on the practice field," Fisher said.

The Rams will have to make a corresponding roster move to add Pead back to the 53-man roster, but they don't have to make that decision just yet as his roster exemption hasn't expired.

With Pead back in the mix, the Rams appear to be a bit heavy with five running backs, though it might be hard to trim from that group given the special teams contributions of Benny Cunningham and Chase Reynolds.

When asked whether Pead's return means he's playing this week, Fisher didn't confirm or deny the possibility.

"We'll see," Fisher said.

Pead would be well served to hit the ground running upon his return. Beyond the suspension, he's had a rough go of it in his first year plus in the league. Expected to compete for the starting job in camp, that battle never materialized as Richardson separated himself early in camp.

From there, Pead battled ball security issues throughout the preseason and found himself fighting for reps as the second back rather than the starting job.

Based on Sunday's performance in the ground game -- the Rams ran 24 times with an average of 2.8 yards per carry -- the opportunity appears to remain for Pead to claim the backup job and be involved in the offense on at least a semi-regular basis.

Stacy got just one carry behind Richardson, picking up 4 yards. Fisher said he'd have liked to get Stacy more work, but the game didn't play out in a way to allow it.

"You want to try to do that, but sometimes the game just goes that way," Fisher said. "That's one of those things you talk about improving, we have got to work on the run game. It's a stout defense, but we are going to have to run the ball a little bit better as well."