clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arizona Cardinals running back depth 'a nice problem to have'

New, comments

Bruce Arians will have some choices when it comes to carries when Andre Ellington is healthy.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rarely have the Arizona Cardinals had any sort of running back depth. They had a good season out of both Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells. Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower were pretty solid. But that is about it. Most of the team's history, at least in Arizona has been that of complete lack of talent.

That is different this year. They have Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson and the rookie David Johnson.

Ellington was very effective in Week 1, but suffered a knee injury. Chris Johnson stepped in with 72 yards on 20 carries in Week 2 and 110 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. David Johnson carried the ball five times for 42 yards and a score in Week 2.

Now, with Ellington perhaps returning in Week 4, things get crowded in the backfield. Larry Fitzgerald called Ellington "perhaps the most dynamic player" on the team offensively. But Johnson is in football shape and his explosiveness appears to be back.

According to head coach Bruce Arians, "it will be a nice problem to have when all three guys are healthy."

The thing is, will they be effective with less carries? Johnson, in particular, has made a career of touching the ball a lot. "He's a guy who likes to tote it and tote it, then he taps out," Arians said to the media. "Andre is the same way."

It will be an adjustment to have them come in and out before getting tired.

Arians said on SiriusXM NFL Radio Johnson would be "a 15-20 touch guy." They don't want to wear him out.

Ellington was at his best his rookie season when he was getting 15-20 touches and Rashard Mendenhall was getting the "tough carries." Johnson can do that. Plus, as Arians mentioned how David Johnson has emerged, "we don't have to just pound one guy all the time."

With Ellington's history of injuries, CJ's usage over his while career and the inexperience of David Johnson, it should be the right mix. The question will remain whether Johnson can be as effective with less touches.

Against a very physical St. Louis Rams defensive front, having all three guys will almost seem like a necessity.