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Arizona Cardinals: Despite Week 8 showing, Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall likely to be RB duo

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Bruce Arians said that the veteran will likely step right back into his role when he is ready.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big takeaways from Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, it was that the Arizona Cardinals have a bright future and even present with their running backs.

Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor combined for 192 yards on 29 carries. Ellington got the start in place of injured Rashard Mendenhall and had his coming out party, amassing 154 yards on 15 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown.

That means that Mendenhall isn't needed anymore and we will see more of the two rookie the rest of the way this season?

Not so fast.

"We'll see how that plays out when (Rashard) comes back," Bruce Arians told the media on Monday, later adding, "I'll evaluate it when he comes back but I'm sure he will resume his role, as long as he's full-speed."

So does that mean Ellington will have a lesser role?

"Andre got his 35 plays, which is right where we thought he would," explained Arians. "Stepfan took Rashard's carries."

So, no. Ellington will still likely touch the ball 10-20 times a game, depending on the situation. The workhorse carries belonged to Taylor and will belong to Mendenhall.

Should there be outcry now for a #FreeTaylor movement like there had been for Ellington? Probably not. Taylor is essentially a younger version of Mendenhall. He won't get huge gains, but he will be good for 3-4 yards consistently, and there will be little negative plays.

Mendenhall, though, should continue in that role if he is completely healthy. As the season progresses, and especially if the Cardinals are competing for a postseason berth, having a veteran like Mendenhall will be crucial. If the Cards fall out of it, then I would give the carries to Taylor.

However, Arians likes what he sees in his young talent.

"It's a real nice one-two punch," he said. "Stepf is a pounder and a grinder and loves it, and good pass blocker. They both have great hands, and Andre, he's got so many different speeds, but he also has those great hands, so it's fun to develop those guys."

He sees the duo of Taylor and Ellington as "dynamic," but did make sure to add "in the future."

After seasons of having a weakness at running back, it finally appears that things have changed.

"We have a good group of running backs...and I don't think you can have enough of them because with a wink they can all be gone."