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Cardinals vs. Redskins: Arizona riding Andre Ellington in running game

The second year back is being used as a workhorse now.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when the Arizona Cardinals believed running back Andre Ellington was a 30-35 snap player who should get 10-15 touches a game.

Those days are gone. Since Jonathan Dwyer was arrested and placed on the NFI list, Ellington has gotten 34 of 38 running back carries and has gotten more snaps than he ever has before.

According to head coach Bruce Arians, "we haven't run the ball enough to get the other guys more carries."

He said the "games have dictated what we've been doing."

But it didn't sound like he planned on giving many carries to anyone else. "We'll just see how it goes and how Andre's feeling," he said. That, combined with the comment Arians made on Wednesday, saying "if (Andre's) fresh, he's staying in," indicates he doesn't really have plans of using Stepfan Taylor right now.

What about rookie Marion Grice?

He still "has no role" in the game plan. Grice said he is still "progressing" with the offense. He said he still isn't there yet and he still "(gets) confused at times" because he will think he's got it, but he coaches will burst his bubble.

He knows he doesn't have a role yet, but is "just trying to contribute on special teams right now."

Whether he is active on Sunday will be a numbers game, according to Arians. "It will depend on other injuries," he said, although he admitted that "we're rolling the dice a little bit" if they only go with three backs as they did last week.

Taylor has gotten only three carries all year so far. I talked to him  on Friday and his body language tells me he is a little frustrated, but he said the right things.

He "(tries) not to focus" on how his number hasn't been called much and he indicated he knows the coaching staff has confidence in him, even if it would appear the coaches don't have much trust in him in the running game.

He spoke of being patient.

"I can't let things I can't control bother me," he said. "That's when things get in your head and you starting moping around in the locker room and you start to mess up."

Taylor is competitive and is used to being a volume carrier, as he was a workhorse in high school and at Stanford.

But Arians is right -- they aren't running the ball enough to spread the carries out. The running back carries thus far have been 21, 25, 20 and 18. Jonathan Dwyer got 16 of those carries the first two weeks of the season.

Running the ball that little over the past two weeks, it makes sense to give the ball to Ellington. The team sees him as a big play threat and a dynamic runner and receiver.

It is, though, interesting, as Ellington has been bothered by a foot injury all season. He does not practice fully during the week.

Will things change against Washington? It didn't sound like it.

So if you want to see more carries from Stepfan Taylor or the integration of Marion Grice, don't expect much if Ellington is feeling good. He has suddenly become the only guy that appears to have the trust of his coaches.