Arizona Cardinals: The running backs
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals kept four running backs on the final 53-man roster
The Arizona Cardinals had a number of guys fighting for spots at running back during training camp. Initially it appeared they could go with as many as five, even six running backs at times. In the end they stuck with four guys.
Of course things can change. They may even change this week before next Sunday’s opener against the New Orleans Saints. However here is a look at the 2015 Arizona Cardinals running backs as it stands on Monday September 7th.
Ellington will be the starter. Head coach Bruce Arians never wavered from that all preseason. Ellington played well in the first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs but after that played sparingly. Ellington, as did other backs on the roster, had an issue with a hamstring early on in camp.
However Ellington is still so versatile and runs so hard and works so hard you have to love his game. Yes he is a risk playing him as much as the Cardinals have in the past and plan to in 2015. Arians said he would still like to get Ellington 20-25 touches a game. That is a lot considering all the weapons the Cardinals have on offense.
The back, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, comes over from the New York Jets. He spent one season in New York. His big draw last season was his average-yards-per-carry. He averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry last season with the Jets.
Johnson was signed about halfway through training camp but did not get into a game until this past Thursday with the Denver Broncos. He also pulled a hamstring that kept him out of the game last weekend against the Oakland Raiders. He was never not making the team though on his make-good deal.
He was on the fence all preseason but his effort over the last two weeks I think got him a position in favor or Kerwynn Williams. Taylor will be entering his third season in the NFL and with the Cardinals. He also can prove to be quite a weapon more in the passing game than anything else.
The rookie from Northern Iowa will start on the depth chart as the fourth running back but you can be sure he will see plenty of time on the field. I along with others considered him a steel in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He also had a pulled hamstring early in camp that probably set him behind a bit but he did manage to score a touchdown against the Raiders in week three of the preseason.
Look for Johnson to get spot touches but do not be surprised if many of those touches come in the Red Zone. Johnson is a lot like both Ellington and Chris Johnson in the sense of versatility. His bigger frame though could allow him to take harder hits more often than Ellington.