Dec 15, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) tries to break free from the grasp of Tennessee Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan (91) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
When the 2014 season gets going the Arizona Cardinals will have a familiar look in the offensive backfield. The Cards this season will employ a running back by committee mindset with Andre Ellington as the featured back. Still expect only 15-20 carries a game from him though, which in this NFL is not unheard of for a number one. Here is a look at the current backs on the roster as mini-camp has ended and training camp right around the corner.
Andre Ellington – The man was everything and more last season. He had huge running games and huge receptions. He is expected to get 25-30 touches a game in 2014. While technically number one on the depth chart he will have plenty of help carrying the ball.
Jonathan Dwyer – One former Pittsburgh Steelers back replaces another. Gone is Rashard Mendenhall, insert Dwyer. He will probably get almost as many carries as Ellington. He’s definitely more of a bruiser than Ellington and should fit in fine with this offensive system.
Stepfan Taylor – The second-year back will provide plenty of support and spell Ellington and Dwyer quite a bit. He can be a sneaky slithery back much like Ellington. He’s just not as polished. Expect Taylor to see several touches a game.
Jalen Parmalee – An interesting late free-agent pick up. He has experience which Ellington is still trying to gain. So he does bring that to the table. He will compete for the fourth back on the team.
Damien Thigpen – Liked what he brought to the field at UCLA. A real chance to crack the roster or the practice squad.
Robert Hughes – Another guy I saw a lot of in college at Notre Dame. The rookie has a shot at making the team but I see him more as a practice squad guy. If not for the Cards he’ll catch on with another team.
Zach Bauman – Loved what he did for Northern Arizona. I got to see his last college game in person in the NCAA playoffs. He’s got great speed and is athletic. The big question with him is his size. At 5’7, he’s shorter than Ellington and is slightly thinner. Size will be a factor but is his heart and ability enough to overcome it? We shall see.