If the Cardinals want to get back to their winning ways, one of the things they will have to turn around the most is their running game. As we have stated many times before, once that gets going at a more productive pace, the quarterback position will magically look better.
The Cards had the same thing in mind when they took running back Ryan Williams in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft two seasons ago. An explosive runner, Williams was supposed to add a dynamic skillset to the backfield that would compliment the bruising play of Beanie Wells nicely.
So far, that hasn't been the case. Williams missed his entire rookie season after tearing his patella tendon in the preseason. Then, he fractured his shoulder in 2012 just four games in.
Darren Urban caught up with Williams, who has been at the training facility this offseason more than any other player trying to get himself healthy. It doesn't seem that the young Virginia Tech runner is ready to give up yet.
"People can say what they want to say, feel how they feel," Williams told Urban. "I don't want anybody on my side. I know they are going to talk, say what they will say, and that's cool. I don't need anybody on my side. I need all those doubters, I need all those haters."
Bruce Arians, as Urban mentioned in his piece, is a big Williams fan. Both of them attended VT, so Arians has a good idea of what his fellow Hokie can bring to the table. And if they switch to the zone blocking scheme, Williams should be able to excel. Of course, this is all assuming he can stay healthy.
The part I found interesting about all of this is that Williams is not worried about his shoulder entering this next season. That will be fine. It is his knee, which he hurt about 18 months ago, that he is making sure is fully recovered. "My knee is the thing," Williams said. "After you read about people with patella tendon injuries, you don't read about them anymore."
He told Urban that the shoulder getting hurt was just a sign that he should not have been playing on the bum knee to begin with. Perhaps he rushed his recovery on it a bit too fast. But now that he has had yet another season to sit out and rehab, he has done a lot of thinking. This is his third chance, and likely his last, to show that he can be a contributor in the NFL.
I know I'm rooting him on. Most Cardinals fans probably are. But if you aren't, that's okay. Lil' Sweetness needs the haters.