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It is no secret, I have never been completely sold on Tim Hightower.
My brother can't understand it. He looks at the statistics, and sees a very productive running back. Hightower has a better yards-per-carry average than Beanie Wells. He has rushed for more overall yards than him too, and more touchdowns.
Importantly, he also sees a player who is much more durable than Wells, too.
And I can't disagree with him on a single point.
Looking purely at the stats, Hightower is, in 2010 at least, a more reliable, more productive back.
The difference is, as an Arizona fan, I don't look purely at stats, I watch the man, and in Hightower, unfortunately, I do not see the sort of running back who can take us the distance in 2010.
Don't get me wrong, Hightower is a good player, exactly the sort we need, and need to get on the field, he is just not the sort of player who changes the complexion of a game.
My biggest problem with Hightower is that he always looks like he is running for the first down marker, not the end zone. That is fine, in a full back, and there are times in the game, when that is what you need your running backs, and receivers to do too, but with Hightower, that seems to be all he ever does.
There is no sense of urgency about him. He always looks tired, and never looks likely to get past the secondary and break off a big, momentum changing run.
He will get you positive yardage when you need it, and, more importantly, will get first downs more often than not, but you can't help but feel that, sooner or later, someone on the defence will catch him, and when they do, the chances of him breaking the tackle are negligible.
He is, to me, the very definition of a third—down running back. You can count on him for those last few yards, but not a lot more. He is definitely valuable when games need closing out, but not when chasing a big deficit, and, unfortunately, Arizona find themselves in the latter situation much more often than the former.
Fortunately, for Hightower, he is as big a threat catching balls as he is running with it. In 2009, Hightower had over 1,000 all-purpose yards, with over 40 percent of those coming through the air.
Any time he is on the field, he adds something which Arizona don't have at many other positions, dependability, and, now he seems to have improved his ball security issues, he continues to have a place on the Arizona Cardinals, however, it is hard to envision that role being primary running back for the remainder of the season.