It's no secret that the Arizona Cardinals offense will be headlined by a new-found rushing attack in 2010. Kurt Warner is enjoying retirement in Arizona and will spend next season watching his former team on television. That means that head coach Ken Whisenhunt will rely on backs Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower to lead the charge for the offense.
The Cardinals have consistently featured a high-octane passing offense in the years that Warner was at the helm. Now with him gone, the young running backs will need to keep the gas pressed and the wheels moving. The duo of Wells and Hightower, or "Beantower" as some of you may call it, will see a significantly greater amount of reps then they did last season.
Beanie Wells is coming off a sub-par rookie season, in which he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He also led the team in rushing yards and steam-rolled many of the 2009 opponents. Wells did run into some road blocks along the way. He missed offseason training to finish school, and on his first day of training camp, he was carted off the field with an injured ankle. Also throw in the fumbles throughout the season and it's safe to say that Wells' rookie season was limited.
Tim Hightower will enter his third season in the NFL and already has the poise and presense of a 10-year veteran. He's coming of his best year yardage-wise, and will do everything in his power to handle the bulk of the carries.
Hightower too, had problems putting the ball on the field last season and missed a significant amount of time as a result. Although Wells received the majority of the carries last season, Hightower started every game because of his superior blocking and receiving skills. With a little practice securing the ball better, both young backs can make a drastic improvement from 2009.
After the jump I'll list the Cardinals' running back duos since 2000...
Arizona Cardinals RB Duos Since 2000
One thing we rarely talk about around here is the success the Cardinals experienced rushing the football last season. Clearly Wells and Hightower held the edge over every other duo since 2000 - they produced the most yards, touchdowns, and the highest yards per carry average.
As you can see, the Cardinals have been abysmal at rushing the football for the last decade, and much of that can be blamed on poor coaching, blocking, and overall personnel. The Cardinals have an opportunity to shatter every stat from the past ten years and establish themselves as the best running back duo the team has every seen. Call it a bold statement but before Wells and Hightower arrived, the Cardinals running backs were either has-beens or bench warmers.
At nearly 1,400 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, call me a believer that the Cardinals rushing game could be in the top ten next year. If they manage to make it that far, it will make life for quarterback Matt Leinart much more bearable.
The 2010 group can erase every Cardinal fans encrusted memory of the terrible rushing football that they witnessed in the 2000's. With the competitive camp that Whisenhunt is running, and the improvement of Wells and Hightower, the Cardinals can start the new decade on a positive note.