The Arizona Cardinals may have lost their first-round pick in guard Jonathan Cooper for an extended amount of time, however they did get some good news on running back Rashard Mendenhall. He reportedly will be available for the season opener on September 8th against the St. Louis Rams. It is good news in what seemed like bad news all weekend.
Mendenhall rushed six times for 47 yard on Saturday night in the 24-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers before leaving with an injured knee. It was the same knee that caused him to miss time in 2012. After the game he said his knee felt loose.
The knock on the Cards for signing Mendenhall was just for this reason. They dodged a bullet, for now. The running game is a big part of what needs to improve this season. They need the veteran leadership Mendenhall brings.
Without Mendenhall, the Cards would be left with a contingent of an oft-injured Ryan Williams, a backup in Alfonso Smith, and two rookies in Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington. That’s not exactly a reason to jump for joy and puts that much more pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer and the passing game. Having a healthy Mendenhall is essential to moving the ball this season. Williams just got his first preseason action in the fourth quarter of the blowout loss. Smith isn’t a starter and you can’t go relying on two rookies to get the job done.