Andre Ellington Still A Huge Part of Arizona Cardinals Offense
By Scott Allen
Head coach Bruce Arians confirms plans for use of running back Andre Ellington going forward
The Arizona Cardinals had a lot of injuries in 2015, this much we know. One of the most impactful injuries was to starting running back Andre Ellington. Ellington was lost for the season for good in late November. If plans stay true, his role actually expands in 2015.
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Ellington started the season with a toe injury. All preseason last year not a word was said about Ellington having any kind of injury. Then on the week one injury report there were doubts whether Ellington would play because of an injured foot. Turns out, that doubt stayed week to week all season long until a sports hernia finally did him in for good with four weeks still left in the season.
Ellington never got to practice in full all season long. As versatile and important as he was to the Cardinals offense, that was a big blow. His lack of practice showed often on Sunday afternoons. However, the lack of practice allowed him to play at all during the season.
On Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arians said that they plan on an expanded role for Ellington in 2015. Hopefully that means that Ellington will be back to 100 percent and practicing every week. Some question his durability in taking a lot of hits even when he is completely healthy.
So the plan as you can see is to still make him the most important piece of the offense. Why wouldn’t you? He’s explosive and flexible, meaning he can run and catch the ball. The question many have is how many hits can he take?
Before the 2014 season started, the plan was to give Ellington the ball a lot. They wanted 15-20 carries and 25-30 touches a game. He carried the ball less than 15 times only three times in 2014 and two of them were his last two games against the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons before being put on the shelf for the season. The issue wasn’t not taking the heavy load but rather the way he took it. He only carried the ball for more than 90 yards in two games.
So will they continue that load or throw him more out as a receiver. Only five times did he have five or more receptions. Maybe you will and should see a more balanced difference. He may still get his 25 touches but maybe give him 10-15 carries and then 10 targets in the passing game. Arians didn’t spell out what his workload was expected or is wanted to be.