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Arizona Cardinals offseason: Robert Hughes to get expanded role

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Bruce Arians wants to see what the big back can offer.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Robert Hughes was a guy Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians raved about last offseason. A very big back, he was used as a fullback, caught the ball a little and had a few short yardage attempts.

As a short yardage back, he was not good. On the season, he gained 16 yards on eight carries. He carried the ball six times on third or fourth down with two or less yards to go and gained six yards. On one, he gained three yards, so he gained three yards on five other attempts. He also caught eight passes for 140 yards.

Arians would like to utilize him a little more this season.

"He has his role from last year," Arians told reporters. "We're going to try and expand it because he did a very good job as a pass receiver last year."

Arians noted the need for getting pads on, especially because of the size Hughes has and the physical nature with which he likes to play. He also said they would give Hughes more carries in training camp to give him more of a look "because he was a real good running back when I had him in the past."

Hiss role is interesting because the team added David Johnson, who is bigger and faster and should be able to handle the short yardage situations. The Cardinals drafted tight end Gerald Christian and is expected to play a bit of an H-back role, which would be similar to how Hughes was used last season. That would mean he will have to battle with Kerwynn Williams, Marion Grice and Stepfan Taylor for a couple of running back spots on the roster.

Will we see more of Hughes in the regular season? We have to wait and see if he even makes the team, because that doesn't seem something certain at this point.