Both teams have established, older runners coming off productive seasons.
The Rams' Isaiah Pead got extensive reps Wednesday while veteran Steven Jackson received a day off. The 49ers' LaMichael James returned to practice after missing time with illness. Both young backs should get extensive work during the exhibition season, but what about when the games start counting?
Change-of-pace roles seem most likely. Jackson and the 49ers Frank Gore, while older, have remained productive lately. Both are good all-around players.
The Rams envision Jackson posting an eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season while Pead provides a few hundred yards. That was the model for Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer when he was running the New York Jets' offense.
For some perspective, I put together a list showing the 10 second-round draft choices with the most rushing yardage as rookies since 2000. Three of the 10 produced as rookies in tandem with 1,000-yard rushers:
Deshaun Foster (2003): Foster had 429 yards for Carolina that year. Stephen Davis had 1,444 yards.
I'm looking forward to seeing James in 49ers camp upon arriving there Sunday.