Why Hightower starts

Posted by Darren Urban on August 11, 2010 – 1:19 pm

I had a Twitter back-and-forth with “MikeNYC24” yesterday about the Tim Hightower-starting-over-Beanie-Wells scenario. It got slightly heated — OK, barely, but there was a back-and-forth — with this being one of “Mike’s” tweets: “Well if rolling with the clearly inferior talent is how he operates, I’d be a little worried if I were a Cards fan.”

I have said this dozens of times (at least it seems) but Hightower starting is a moot point. Beanie will get the majority of the carries regardless. They will both be used regardless. But in the vein of “why,” coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked directly today — Why start Hightower instead of Beanie?

“Tim is versatile, he is tough and he runs well with the ball,” Whisenhunt said. “And we have a lot more information about Tim in different situations than Beanie. That’s not a knock on Beanie. But the way we have set things up with our team, Beanie has to earn that. Tim has earned it. Beanie is working hard to try to do that, and that’s what you want.”

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53 Responses to “Why Hightower starts”

  1. By Josiah on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Beanie and Tim will be BEAST!!!

  2. By Tod on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Makes sense to me … as of most of what Whiz does and says.

    Glad we’ve got him coaching the Cardinals!

  3. By John on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Hightower had 10 td’s his rookie year, and 8 td’s and over 1000 all purpose yards last year. He is a good RB woh dosn’t get the credit outside of AZ that he should. I hope that he continues to start, and continues to push the Cardinals to victory.

  4. By Joe-B on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with how you called him someone who only cares about fantasy football stats or something like that on Twitter

  5. By COOLIDGE MIKE on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    as long as we get the W

  6. By Joe on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I think we are lucky to have two very awesome backs that we can utilize. Hightower is a beast and can bust through gaps like a mad man (as long as he does not have ball issues). Beanie is impressive in his own right, but still needs to put in some time. I am so excited to see both backs tear it up this season, lets just hope the O line lets these beast loose. GO CARDS!!!!

  7. By TMAS on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    We have an awesome set of RBs. Through in the Hyphen and they are unstoppable! I’m excited to see the run take off this year in AZ. PROVE ESPN WRONG!

  8. By MW on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Beanie is clearly the better running back and offensive threat, and the Cardinals need a strong runner to generate the offense (due to Kurt’s departure). HIghtower has shown nearly all his potential, while beanie has revealed just the tip of the iceberg. I believe Whisenhunt’s approach thus far has been bordering detrimental to Wells’ confidence. Stop holding a star back and let him loose.

  9. By Eric on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    It’s all semantics. IIRC, there was one game late in the season (perhaps the GB playoff game?) in which Hightower was announced as the starter, but Wells was on the field for the opening play.

  10. By brad oneill on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    forget who starts just take a look at the paychecks. I think the coach is doing what he can to keep hightower happy and Tim is probably the most underrated back in the nfl right now. the guy was money on the goal line the last few years and you cant expect much more from a back with the limited numbers of carries he was getting in the warner offense.

  11. By Chaz on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    The Whisenhunt philosophy: Timmy is starting because he earned it.

    As a Card fan this is why I am not concerned.

  12. By MikeG on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren, Tim and Beanie compliment one another
    great in the backfield and I agree– it doesn’t
    matter who starts. Beanie will have more carries by
    end of year but as far as blitz pickups and overall blocking Tim has the edge right now. Whisenhunt stresses team and not individual #’s and everyone must
    contribute. What do you see as the running backs
    for the season at this point??– Beanie, Tim, Le-rod, J-Wright and Broughten.

  13. By Darren Urban on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    MikeG —

    That’s exactly who the RBs will be.

  14. By Bryan on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I know I know…but start the best player.

    Beanie should start.


  15. By Steve on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, I saw those tweets and MikeNYC probably gets his Cards news from national sources. So far this year I have heard Dan Williams will start in week 1 from PFT. ESPN has reported that Washington is the likely season starter at MLB and I’ve seen dozens of outlets report Beanie will start the season at RB. These people reporting this stuff just have not been paying attention, which is a shame considering the Cards have won more playoff games the last 2 years than any other team. You would think at least some in the national media would get a clue. So the next time Trey Wingo or Mark Schlereth mention the Cards on NFL live… take it with a much needed grain of salt. They most likely have no idea what they are talking about.

  16. By cardsfan0309 on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    what hasn’t beanie proved yet? that’s the question. i think tim puts it on the ground too often to be considered a starter

  17. By cheesebeef on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I really think in an offense where we’re gonna likely have to depend HEAVILY on the run, having hightower in there to start is gonna lead to a lot of 3 and outs on our first possession which is never a good thing. I understand splitting carries, it’s seemingly part of every team’s running attack these days, but I think it’s imperative that this team get off to as fast starts as possible with a green QB back there and a defense that has some rather troubling holes. I just quiver at the thought of defenses licking their lips, lining 8 in the box, ready to stop hightower for a gain of 1 or 2 yards on first down and then putting Matt in 2nd and 3rd and longs. He’s a good change of pace back, especially once the D is softened up, but I’ll be worried any time a game starts and we trot both Matt and Timmy out there to get a game going.

  18. By Javier Montoya on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tim is a Bad A**!

  19. By joe67 on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    MW You are out there man. First off I really doubt we have seen all that Hightower can do. Beanie is going to be great, or at least damn good, no argument there, but to say Coach is holding him back??!?! Now just think about that statement for awhile……geez

  20. By Chris on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tim Hightower will have more td’s than Wells but Beanie will have more yards, just like last year, but more for each.

  21. By Bryan on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I will bet Beanie leads all RBs in every category but receiving.

    If he contiues to show he is the #1 and isn’t starting by mid season I’m going to pull all my hair out.

  22. By Darren Urban on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Bryan, Brent —

    Why? Again, I ask — if Beanie is getting the most carries, why does it bother you so much Hightower is technically the starter? No one can answer that question.

    I guarantee you this: if Beanie starts, he will continue to get the same amount of work he already does. If everyone who is complaining that Beanie isn’t starting is doing so because you think if he starts, he’ll take all of Hightower’s carries, you are sadly mistaken.

  23. By John on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tim is a much better blocker than Beanie especially on picking up the blitz. At this point, he also is a better receiver. I expect Beanie to improve in both of these areas as he gains experience. Its good to have 2 solid backs, most teams now go with the committee approach. The days of 35 caries by one back are a thing of the past.

  24. By April on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I would love for the Tim Hightower haters to shut up he is a great running back and deseves to start. GO TIM GO CARDS!!!

  25. By Joe on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tim makes beanie look better than he is just like barber makes felix jones look better. It’s all about skill sets and using the appropriate back on every play to gain an advantage. Believe it or not they are downs and situations where Tim is a better choice because of his skill set. I agree with whiz Tim has earned the right to be the starter and until beanie makes him obsolete there is no point in changing it.

  26. By Joe on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    BTW i just bought the black 3rd jersey # 26 it’s so nice. I know they can only rock it twice in a year i think but they will look damn good those two games.

  27. By MikeNYC24 on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    But yo Darren, I dun get why Tim starts.

    Why is Tim starting man Beanie is betta yo

  28. By Skiptim on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, do you think Leinart will get more play time than other #1 QBs? I mean, Palmer got 2 drives I think, but won’t the coaches want to see more from Leinart even this week?

  29. By Darren Urban on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Skiptim —

    We asked Whiz that last week. I think that’s up in the air depending how Leinart does.

  30. By Mattman on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Where does it say that we as fans can dictate what a coach will or won’t do? Coach Whiz has placed Hightower as the starter and has reasons for it. I also am assuming that he has spoken with all of his backs and told them what he expects out of each of them. Whether we are privy to that info or not, it is not up to us to try and put our two cents in. If Beanie has a problem with not being named the starter, he knows what needs to be done to change that positioning on the depth chart. It’s all up to him.

  31. By Darthcard on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I love both of them. IMO hightower is slasher. And beanie is a physically gifted basher. Hey Darren maybe you can help Tim get a big poster of himself in it seems like every blimpies in NYC like beanie. Lol. One last tidbit… Hold onto the ball better this year guys.

  32. By andrew on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    well adrian and chris and maurice maybe good by them sevlves but when it’s time to face beanie and tim they’re probably gonna run for the hills LOL!!!

  33. By Brent on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    What a joke! Wells is a featured back and THT is a backup. Sorry just stating the obvious. All I gather from this is that Wiz is pushing Beanie with this cause he knows just what we all know. Beanie is the MAN. Period. I know coaches don’t care about fan feedback but if tjis goes on much longer than fans will be revolting aginst holding Beanie back. Common Wiz enough, start the star!

  34. By MW on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    joe67- Hightower is an even-keel player who can consistently do the small objectives, but cannot wear a defense down or solidify the ground game in the manner Chris Wells can. Beanie Wells is only 22 with immense promise to his game; however, he could easily grow frustrated or disgruntled by being placed behind an inferior talent. Just as cheesebeef said, Hightower is a change-of-pace back, not and enforcer like #26.

  35. By Darren Urban on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    MW —

    I hate to play the I’m-here-and-you’re-not card, but I have gotten to know Beanie well enough that I guarantee you he isn’t disgruntled nor will he about this. If he is getting the most carries, he’ll have nothing to complain about.

  36. By Scott H on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t care who starts. As long as they are both getting their opportunities – and they will – that’s all that matters. These two guys complement each other very well, and there’s plenty of plays to be made by both of them. Timmy is better at pass protection, he’s such a weapon catching passes out of the backfield, and he’s a sure thing from two yards out. Beanie showed how tough he is to bring down, he can lay big hits on anyone trying to get in his way, and he’s a big play threat on every play. If they both stay healthy, they’ll keep each other fresh and they WILL be the engine that drives this team.

  37. By brad oneill on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    wiz makes gutsy calls stuff like starting the old and washed up kurt warner instead of the young stud quarterback we brought in to be the face of the franchise.

    He lets mcfadden go when we are a little short and shaky at corner. He keeps duece in the second string because he is a little pudgy and held out too long.

    if we go 0-16 this year i would still trust Wiz, because he did something no one else has ever been able to do and that’s get my beloved cardinals to the super bowl.

  38. By Bryan on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    …wait a second.


    Did you just use the words tweet and heated in the same sentence??


  39. By Nikolicardsfan on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Evvidently MikeNYC24 has never seen Tim’s ability to due all it takes. He reminds me of another small school back we had years nack in M. Shipp, with his willingness to do whatever the team needs.

  40. By Peter in Canada on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    These posters who are knocking Hightower have got it wrong. Hightower made that long TD run against the Saints and was great in the red zone. He is an excellent receiver and pass blocker. Undoubtedly Wells is the more punishing runner. Both TH and Wells fumbled a little too much last year. Remember the Monday night game in S.F.? IMO since there won’t be as many pass attempts as last year, there is going to be more than enough work for both of them.

  41. By tygrbass on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    the whizzard knows what he is doing

  42. By bodine on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    Best call 2 back backfeild. Protection and threat. Versatility

  43. By bodine on Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    I am a big beanie fan, I know he is a better running back than tht, but tht at this point is more of a complete allpurpose back. Beanie is a good reciver, he was used alot in high school catching passes. When he went to Ohio State that just wasn’t part of their game plan (but it should have). Beanie has been given the reputation as a non recieving back, He has the talent to catch, run, punish and just be a threat in the backfeild. Tim has 1 trait that he excells in over Beanie and thats protection. In time Beanie will accumulate those traits, but with a qb that needs to prove himself tim may provide the compfort he needs to succeed.My suggestion make em both starters put them both on the field at the same time, get the hyphen involed a litte more by releaving Beanie and Ali in there to releave Tim. Beanie loves a lead blocker and I would love to see what the recieving options it would create with Tim and the hyphen splitting out of the backfeild.

  44. By Rugbymuffin on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    Inferior talent ?


  45. By Ross on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, if you had to project the carry distribution at this point, assuming everyone stays healthy, what would it look like?

  46. By Darren Urban on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    Ross —

    It’s going to depend, of course. If Hightower breaks off a 70-yard run to start a game a la N.O. and it the game is close, they may feed Tim that day.

    That said, here is my guess — and again, it’s only a guess. Tough to get inside the head of Whiz: Beanie 18-22 carries, Hightower 8-12, Hyphen 2-5.

  47. By Billy Thomas on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    I think we should just be happy that we have two great running backs. I mean Beanie is a workhorse and there’s no reason to hold him back, but I believe I heard commentators once saying that there may be no back in the league better at picking up a blitz than Hightower. It’s all of the non-yardage things that Tim does that make him a smart and effective player, and I think that’s why we’ll see alot of him.


    Where are they planning to use Hyphen this year? I imagine still on kickoffs, but are they going to primarily use him in a shotgun passing situation, or in more of a running aspect?

  48. By Darren Urban on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    Billy —

    That’s TBD.

  49. By card62 on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    I just want both backs healthy for the playoffs so share the load and let Tim give Beanie breaks when he needs a break. Whiz knows all and he will use the backs correctly this year and we will have a fresh Beanie for the playoffs.

    I do hope to see a little Beanie and Tim in the backfield at the same time in 2010. Now that could be cool and give the defenses a little something to adjust.

    Go Cards beat Niners!

  50. By Patrick on Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t think Tim Hightower is a better back than Beanie Wells, but I do think that he can be more of a threat if not taken into consideration. Hightower is more known for his ability to find short yardage situations and sustaining longer drives. He has a few problems holding the ball, but that should improve over time. Another area of where Hightower has prove himself as a real asset is in the passing game. Warner saw multiple coverages last year, and couldn’t find the seams to throw it down field to his receivers, and dumped it off to Hightower as a last option. I think he’s earned his starters position and that should fuel Beanie as well as the rest of the RB core to play with more vigor and intensity.

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