The loss of Ryan Williams is a devastating one on many levels. Just when the kid looked ready to break out, he goes down again with a season ending shoulder injury.
But this article was not written to lament the loss of Williams. It is meant to decipher which running back should possibly replace him.
The Cardinals will undoubtedly look to bring in a veteran presence given the lack of depth they currently have. LaRod Stephens-Howling is the best back on the roster, but he is not an every down runner. William Powell and Alfonso Smith are both young and the coaching staff may not feel comfortable turning the reins completely over to them. Besides, having three running backs on your roster in today's age just isn't enough.
So, Alex gave you some options as to who the Cardinals could bring in yesterday. But I wanted to bring the question back to the table and present you with some more possibilities.
Out of the ideas Alex suggested in Joseph Addai, Chester Taylor, Jerious Norwood and trading for Michael Bush, I like the idea of Addai the most. Bush would be nice, but in no way do I promote the Cardinals spending draft picks on a quick fix. What happens with Bush once Beanie Wells and Williams return?
Addai would probably be the guy I look at from this group. He is still only 29 years old and a capable runner/receiver out of the backfield. The best part is, he is a very good player in pass protection, an area where the Cardinals could sorely use some assistance. The issue is his conditioning. After failing an endurance test with the Patriots in the preseason, does Addai still have the motivation to play in the NFL?
Then there are more options that might work even better. Tim Hightower, Maurice Morris, Steve Slaton and Ryan Torain, a former ASU Sun Devil, are all free agents.
Hightower would obviously be somewhere the Cardinals look due to their familiarity with him. Although he is coming off of an ACL injury, we have seen how other players (Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, etc.) have fared this season after coming off a similar injury.
After Hightower, I think Torain makes a lot of sense. As a one time starter for the Redskins (truly, it seems like everyone has been a starter for Shanahan at one time), he is a guy that can scrape out some tough yards for your team. Again, he is an injury prone back, but Arizona would need him just until Beanie Wells returns.
Of course, it really does not matter who the Cards sign if they don't start committing to the run more and getting some better blocking up front. Not even Barry Sanders could run well in this situation.
While Torain and Hightower are my two favorites to make the roster, there are still other options out there. What do you think the Cardinals should do? Tell us in the comments section below.