Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Preview: The Running Backs Will Define This Team

TEMPE, AZ - JUNE 13: Runningback LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football as he practices in the minicamp at the team's training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For the Arizona Cardinals, the running game has been something of a question mark over the past few seasons. That question remains heading into training camp this season with their two top guys coming off of knee injuries.

Not only are there the injuries to deal with, but not every player knows where they fall on the depth chart as of now. All of this is set to be decided soon enough.

The main running backs on the roster consist of Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith. Each of them are expected to be on the roster come opening day, save for a surprise from Javarris James or William Powell.

After having some offseason knee surgery that was kept very discreet, Wells will have to work very hard in order to hold Ryan Williams from taking his job. Williams, though, is also coming off of a torn patella tendon injury, so although he is not expected to be limited by that, he may not get a full chance to prove he should be the number one back.

While that battle ensues for the number one spot, Stephens-Howling is set to be the change of pace type of back that works well in stretch plays and as a receiver. Smith does not figure to see much playing time barring yet another injury to the running back.

Although each of them have quite a bit to prove once they head up to Flagstaff, the biggest thing they need to worry about is staying healthy. The Cardinals will need a balanced and dependable run game to take pressure off of their quarterbacks and to help them control the time of possession this season.

On a side note, Anthony Sherman remains the only fullback that is currently on the roster. Again, unless there is an injury, he will be the guy. The team was very impressed with what he was able to accomplish in his rookie season of 2011.

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