I can already tell I'm going to get a lot of flak for this.
I've started to feel that my job as the Cardinals writer is to remind others that overlooking the Cardinals of the last couple years is foolish.
All that to say, I welcome all of your comments. Whether you tell me how much of an idiot I am or whatever, as long as you at least try to back up your statements, I'll respect you.
On that same line, I posted an article very similar to this on another site, and got one very mature response, and one very immature.
The immature comment just said I was crazy, and then he preceded to rank LenDale White and Leon Washington ahead of Wells this year.
Everyone's entitled to his own opinion, but in this particular case, the commenter's best shot was that Wells is overrated—and that he had Warner, Fitzgerald, Boldin, etc.
Thanks for that deep insight.
But if he'd done his research, he'd see that those guys haven't helped a number of Cardinals RBs do what Wells did last season.
The other more mature comment was that Stephen Jackson and Frank Gore are still ahead of Wells (which I do agree with, as of right now), but that Wells has a bright future.
That sounds a little more reasonable to me—and if you don't agree, let me explain.
First, let's examine the competition at running back in the NFC West.
The best running back arguably right now in the division is Stephen Jackson. If this competition were based on athleticism, it would definitely be Jackson.
Plus, he's basically the Rams' entire offense. Hopefully, that will change soon, but maybe not until next season.
The biggest down-side for Jackson is wear and tear. Not only because of the injury issues he's had (he had offseason surgery), but he's carried the ball a lot in his few years in St. Louis (1,548 in six seasons to be exact).
But in the Rams' defense, their offensive line situation is getting better, and their offense can't get any worse. So, Jackson should have some help soon.
In the City by the Bay, Frank Gore certainly fits right in as the second best back in the division. Gore hasn't taken the beating Jackson has, but he too has problems with injuries, missing two games each of the last two seasons.
Plus, I know this will create some drama, but Gore wouldn't be nearly as good without his long runs. I'm absolutely not saying he's a bad player. He is a very good player, but you take away those runs, and his average is rather ordinary.
Also—and this may come as a shock—he hasn't gone over 1,200 yards the last three seasons. So, if Wells stays healthy, he can possibly match or top that number.
But it should also be noted here that the San Fran O-Line should be better this year with the drafting of Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.
But does anybody really think that LenDale White and Leon Washington are the answers? Neither has been a feature back in any offense.
Now, don't get me wrong: They're a big improvement over Julius Jones.
But if you want my opinion, and you probably don't, the Hawks should've gone with Justin Forsett.
Anyway, back to Beanie.
There are a couple of big reasons I believe he'll be better this season:
1. The Offensive Line Is the Best It's Been in Years
I won't go back through all my reasoning again, but to add a guy like Alan Faneca, and have a guy like Russ Grimm as your offensive line coach, your O-Line is bound to be better.
And with a mediocre line that the Cards had last year (or so everyone says), Beanie averaged 4.5 yards per carry. And that was without a real breakaway run (his long was 33).
2. The Cardinals Should Run the Ball More This Year
I say should.
The Cardinals will still be a passing team, but I imagine the gap will really close this year with uncertainty at QB.
But still, having weapons like Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet should take some pressure off of Wells.
So should the aforementioned Tim Hightower.
To sum up, let me be perfectly clear: I'm not saying Beanie Wells is the best back in the NFC West division.
I'm saying he could be.
It should be a great RB battle in this division in 2010.