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Arizona Cardinals Rushing Attack a Two-Headed Monster?

Just as a side note, this isn't a copy story of Hawks a few days ago, simply a story of how the Cardinals rushing offense will develop this year.

With four weeks down, we're through a preseason that you'll likely want to forget, and at this point, the only impressive part about the Arizona Cardinals offense has been the rushing attack. You've heard it before, the Cardinals were ranked dead last in the NFL in 2008 with 73.6 yards per game and were 31st in the league with a 3.5 average. They revamped their rushing game throughout the playoffs and literally road it into the SupWells-hightower_mediumer Bowl. The main focus of the draft was to bring in a young, talented back, and at that point, most of us already saw Beanie coming. After the Cardinals drafted Chris Wells in the 1st round, they later released Edgerrin James and we have now come to know Tim Hightower as our starting running back. After the Packers game however, we were finally able to see the investment that is called Chris "Beanie" Wells. Wells blew up in the first 2 and a half quarters, scoring two touchdowns and running with little resistance against the Packers defense.

'I had a lot of butterflies going," Wells said. "It was definitely up and down like a roller coaster. To finally put on that jersey and actually get out there, it hit me when I got that first carry in the NFL."
















Meanwhile, Tim Hightower quietly constructed a very impressive preseason, attempting to prove that he is the lead back in Arizona. He has broken away from his dancing habits. He also showed up at training camp noticeably slimmer, and has been quicker with his cuts and moves so far. We've already heard a few times that Hightower is playing angry, due to the drafting of Wells, which makes this running back battle even more interesting. So what does all of this mean for the Arizona Cardinals and their fans?

Only a few scenarios come to mind for the Cardinals rushing attack...

Keep in mind that this is assuming that Tim Hightower is named the starter for opening week (which he likely will be), and that Wells is given a chance to compete for the starting role.

A.) (Most Likely) The Cardinals two young backs battle for the starting job throughout practice and the first couple weeks of the season. By week 2, a clear cut starter is named and they start every game for the remainder of the season. Whoever that player is, adds to the Cardinals already dynamic offense, making them one of the best offensive teams in the league. They compile stats in the ballpark of 1,200 yards and 8 TDs. The back that lands the back up role nears around 400 yards with 2 TDs.

B.) (Not a favorable choice) Both backs show promise and do make a battle through week 2. Wells seems to be the lead candidate before suffering an injury that causes him to not be at 100% and miss a few games. Hightower is forced to start and while he has a few good starts, he falls back into the role he held last year, in which he primarily carried the ball on 3rd and short or goal line situations. The Cardinals end the season in the bottom 10 in rushing and Hightower ends the season with 700 yards and 8 TDs.

C.) (Favorite Choice) Before the first week of the season Ken Whisenhunt declares that Hightower will be the starter but he and Wells will virtually split the carries every game. The Cardinals establish themselves within the top five offenses in the league, if not number 1. The new found rushing attack gives the Cardinals the advantage in most games, giving Warner a tremendous break, and giving Whisenhunt more options on offense. Hightower finishes the year with 1,100 yards and 6 TDs and Wells falls in the vicinity of 900 Yards and 8 TDs.

D.) (Starting to appear this way) Hightower maintains the starting job throughout the season, but Wells is not far behind. While Hightower has improved greatly over last year, he's not Pro Bowl caliber yet. Wells has an above average rookie season, and spells Hightower nicely. The main drawback is that the Cardinals passing offense never takes off and must ironically rely on a 2nd year back and a rookie runningback to lead the offense. The Cardinals rushing offense has a successful season, but overall they aren't balanced. Hightower compiles 1,000 yards with 6 TDs and Wells has 500 yards and 5 TDs.


Although the Cardinals rushing attack could turn out anyway, and anything's possible, they will likely feature one of these options above. Like Whisenhunt has said, it's a good problem to have. Either back could start for this team, and whoever does, won't necessarily determine how good the rushing offense is this year. The main factor is how Whisenhunt uses the two backs. Do you see the Cardinals rushing attack in any other scenario besides these?