Beanie Wells' Breakout Season
The one thing that drives me crazy, especially when talking about Beanie Wells, is a history with injuries. This is football, not badminton, so if a guy gets hurt, don’t slap the caution sticker on him for life. He is still top dog on the Cardinals NFL Depth Charts
Many players have recovered from injuries to bounce back and regain form...and Beanie is one of them.
This former Ohio State Buckeye really turned it on strong late last year and had a solid role in the Cardinals' playoff run despite the lack of touches. Wells averaged a very impressive 4.5 yards per carry for 793 yards and found the end zone seven times in his rookie season.
This year, the Cardinals are a team in transition. Seeing players like Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin leave may have people giving up on everything in the red uniform that isn’t named Larry Fitzgerald, but while Arizona’s passing attack is changing gears, the running game is about to rev the engine and burn rubber.
The Cardinals' most underrated signing this offseason is Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca. This former Jet/Steeler has a résumé of being part of some of the best running teams over the last 10 years.
The Cardinals were already fairly strong with their interior line; guys like RG Rex Hadnot and center Lyle Sendlein had excellent '09 seasons. Thereby, this added leadership should make one of the most underrated offensive lines in football that much better.
Just to throw it out there, Deuce Lutui has been rumored to be up around 400 pounds. Not bragging rights by any means, but if the coaching staff can get this huge former USC lineman back on track, goal-line holes will be large enough to skip through.
The biggest problem standing in the way of Beanie Wells becoming a huge fantasy star is his counterpart Tim Hightower. Hightower split carries with Beanie all year but had a worse rushing average.
While Beanie hung back as the No. 2 guy in '09, the job is secretly being groomed for him, as there is more investment and potential in the late round first rounder. I expect a huge transition in the number of carries for Wells this year, adding 20-25 percent more of the rock his way.
Overall, I just like the way Beanie plays. Even if the line is just slightly improved from a year ago, it’s the wealth that he brings to a team that has lost two important pieces to the passing attack.
Ken Whisenhunt is a smart coach with a history of working with what he has, as opposed to forcing a template offense. Whisenhunt was once the man in the Steelers' driver seat and with Faneca back on the line, things could look completely different in the dome.