For the second time in as many weeks, an Arizona Cardinals running back has been placed on injured reserve. On September 26, Beanie Wells was put on the non-season ending injured reserve with turf toe, and now Ryan Williams will go on injured reserve because of a bum shoulder. The only difference is Williams' season is over as of today.
He left Thursday night's game with what appeared to be a minor shoulder injury. Both coach Whisenhunt and Williams assured everyone that he would be back after the game. Evidently, ongoing tests showed more damage than the original MRI. There is no word yet as to when the surgery will take place, or if it already has.
Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com first reported the news about 30 minutes ago and gathered a couple of quotes from Coach Whisenhunt: "For Williams, it’s a second straight season he’ll end up on injured reserve, although this time the time frame to return is three months, Whiz said, so while he’ll miss the season he’ll be back for the offseason."
So, what does Arizona do from here? It sounds like the backfield will be comprised of LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith. It doesn't appear as if any corresponding roster move has been made as of yet. The Cardinals don't have a running back on the practice squad. So, if another running back was brought in, it would be from outside the organization.
With Wells set to return November 25, I doubt general manager Rod Graves will try to make a trade. Names like Chris Ivory and Kevin Smith have been thrown out there, but at this point it really doesn't make sense. In the short term, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, no. It would just create an even cloudier picture when everyone returns to full health.
Stephens-Howling will be the starter considering he has some starting experience. Last year he started the last game of the season for the Cards and rushed for 93 yards on 21 carries against a stiff Seahawks run defense.
However, this season he has been slowed by injuries. He didn't appear against the Dolphins or Rams, but with the 10-day layoff he will be ready to go this week against the Bills. In 2012, he has only rushed the ball 12 times for one yard. And no, that is not a typo. His most productive game was against Seattle in Week 1.
Arizona's rushing attack has been absolutely awful this year, so really there's only one way to go and that's up. Right now the Cardinals are 31st in rushing with a pitiful 63.4 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry.
The good news is that Buffalo just surrendered 311 yards on the ground to the 49ers. So, if there was ever a week to be hopeful, this week is it.