No one around the NFL will accuse the Arizona Cardinals of winning football games by running the rock. This organization has struggled in the running game for most of its time as a franchise.
The difference between the past two seasons and most of the organization's history is that they've found a way to win without a running game.
Waiting In The Wings
This season the Cardinals are averaging a mere 60 yards rushing per game and that is easily the worst in football.
Starting tail back Tim Hightower has only averaged over 2.8 yards per carry one game this season and has a season long run of seventeen yards.
This anemic running is the same success rate we saw from Hightower a season ago when he averaged 2.8 yards per carry for the entire season.
The other running back in this committee is first round pick Chris "Beanie" Wells and has a 3.9 yards per carry average this season. While Wells has done a good job on the ground he has fumbled the football three times in only 49 carries.
Another short coming in Wells game is that he's not the strongest of blockers in pass protection. Over time, I expect Wells to improve as he gets more playing time and understands the speed at which an NFL game is played.
I base this solely on the fact that Wells is a physical beast, and once he is positioned correctly to take on a defender, he will be able to handle the physical aspect of the assignment.
Until Wells improves in these areas head coach Ken Whisenhunt will continue to start Hightower over his talented young rookie.
Success In the Running Game Will Come
While Wells may not be the starter on this team right now, he is starting to see more carries than his fellow teammate. Against the New York Giants , Wells carried the football 14 times to Hightower's four.
In those fourteen carries Wells accumulated 67 yards and a touchdown. On the touchdown score Wells did a very nice job of bouncing the run to the outside, stiff arming a defender and then turning on the speed to get to the end zone.
This run was telling in the sense that we haven't seen a running back from Arizona be able to make that play in years. Maybe Thomas Jones or Johnny Johnson but those guys played on very bad Cardinal teams.
Wells has the opportunity to be the first talented young runner to start on a winning Arizona team in a long time. Not to mention playing with a high octane passing game that can score at any moment.
Once Wells gets himself established, he could easily become one of the more productive running backs in Cardinal history. Not to mention one of the more fantasy relevant runners from this organization as well.
Fantasy Football Outlook for Beanie Wells
At this time, if you can acquire Wells off the waiver wire, I would pick him up right away. This talented running back may only be a bye week fill in right now, but he should be a fantasy football starter by seasons end.
During the fantasy football playoff weeks ( weeks 14-16) Wells will face the 49ers , Lions, and Rams . If Wells takes over as the starting running back at that time of the year his fantasy numbers could help you win a championship.
NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com