Running back Ryan Williams really is starting to look like Beanie Wells. He sounded and looked ready to go to start training camp. Then he knee flared up, then he was on crutches, then he said he would definitely play against Dallas. He didn't and now apparently he is unlikely to play against the San Diego Chargers this weekend at home.
According to head coach Bruce Arians (via azcardinals.com), Williams "probably" won't be able to go on Saturday, which is problematic.
"He needs to start playing," he said. "Can't evaluate him unless you play."
More and more fans and many readers here feel that Williams is for sure a goner. I'm still not so sure.
Arians has said he would keep four or five backs -- "probably five."
Williams isn't saying he's nervous about his spot, and he even said that the coaches and the training staff have been very understanding. He even noted he has not been able to sense any frustration towards him.
Arians said that he would get the chance to play a lot in their preseason finale at Denver next week.
I noted on our most recent podcast episode that it seems like Williams is getting the benefit of the doubt, like he is still mostly a lock for the roster.
I won't say he is a lock, but I get the feeling that if he plays in Denver at all and looks at least decent, he's going to make the team...that is, if they keep five running backs.
Of course, the other thing to consider is this -- it is a bit tricky to cut a guy that is injured. If his knee is still an issue for the Denver game, it makes things a little difficult. And if he were to get hurt again, the team would end up on the hook for his salary for the season as he would likely end up on injured reserve.
Williams is near the end of his rope. But this is important -- he's not actually at the end of the rope. It's an awful long rope. I don't think he's a complete lock for the roster, but I think he still has a hold, albeit tenuous right now, on a spot on the final 53.
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