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Andre Ellington not likely to get more playing time

Bruce Arians

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

One trending topic over the first five weeks of the season for the Arizona Cardinals is the play of rookie running back Andre Ellington. Against the Carolina Panthers, he had a combined 83 yards from scrimmage on seven rushes and four receptions.

Fans and media wonder if his role will increase, especially with how well he runs the ball.

Head coach Bruce Arians quelled that a bit.

On Monday, when he was asked about the mix at running back and Ellington's production, saying "he was at 30, 32 play, which is a good load for him right now."

He was officially at 30 snaps during the game vs. Carolina.

Arians does not think that Ellington should take over more in the running game, saying that both he and Rashard Mendenhall "need to touch the ball about the number of times they did" in the game on Sunday.

Since OTAs and training camp, Ellington has "continued to progress in the right direction so that you keep adding things to it." However, Arians said that you have to be careful with rookies so "you don't overload and get them out of their comfort zone."

"He's a runner, we've kind of turned him into a receiver," he said. "I think that's his role as a future player -- as a 30 down type of player and as a receiver and a runner. i don't think his body type is going to be the lead dog type of runner."

One thing that was interesting was that Arians was very clear that he didn't think that with his stable of running backs that they could be a dominant running team. He did reiterate the desire to have balance.

Ellington's role has been that of both running back and receiver. Going back over formations from Sunday's game, Ellington has more or less taken the role of fourth receiver. Jaron Brown is not getting on the field. In five-wide empty formations, it is Ellington and Rob Housler who play with the three main wideouts. He also is the fourth receiver in what would traditionally be "10" formations -- one back and four receivers. Rashard Mendenhall is the running back and Ellington is lined up wide. That is becoming a more common set for the offense to use.

So will Ellington get more looks? It doesn't sound like it. While many of us may disagree, we likely will not see him used more than what he was against the Panthers or Buccaneers.

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