2014 NFL Combine: What will be Andre Ellington's offensive role this next season?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Keim said one thing and Arians might have said another.

Just a day after general manager Steve Keim emphasized that running back Andre Ellington does not have the build to be a featured back, head coach Bruce Arians talked about building the offense around Ellington.

Arians told everyone that Ellington has been in the weight room and has added 10 pounds to his frame and lauded his talent.

"I've never been around a running back who stepped on the field and tried to do things he's never done before and played wide receiver as good as he does," he said. "He plays it as well as most of our starting wide receivers."

The question that people have is how much will Ellington get the ball. General manager Steve Keim said that the team would continue to platoon backs, and he made it sound like it would probably be a combo if Ellington and Stepfan Taylor.

But Arians gave some other information, saying, "he has a unique talent we want to look at and continue to build our offense around this year."

So...the team is going to build their offense around Ellington, but he isn't going to be a feature back? How is this possible?

On local sports talk radio on Friday, they made it sound like what Arians and what Keim said were two different things. They don't have to be contradictory. Keim was referring to the running game only. I would not expect Ellington's carries per game to change drastically.

Note that Arians mentioned Ellington's work at receiver. When he said that the Cardinals would build their offense around him, it meant that they would do that, but they have felt, since last season, that he is like a Percy Harvin, playing both running back and receiver.

It should be probably be expected that Ellington and the running back they use to platoon with him will split carries. I wouldn't be surprised if Ellington still isn't the guy with the most carries. That's not where he is special. It's not in the work load, it is in the big plays.

He will play more than last year, but it will be a combination of running back and receiver, or being motioned out of the backfield to line up as a receiver.

The Cardinals will build the offense around Ellington. What makes that fun is that it will be in a lot of different ways. Don't expect 20 carries as a runner. Expect 10-15 carries and five or six targets in the passing game, which was more or less how he was used in the last half of 2013.

So will he get the ball as much as many fans will want? Probably not, but he will continue to make an impact...and someone else will probably get more carries.

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