What Ryan Williams could mean

Posted by Darren Urban on December 30, 2011 – 8:59 am

Ken Whisenhunt was talking about his running game this season — when he considered if that part of the game made progress or was just frustrating, Whisenhunt said “Would it be fair to say you can have both?” — when I decided to ask him if he ever thought about what rookie Ryan Williams would have meant had he not blown out his patella tendon in the preseason.

“I don’t think any of us are under the illusion that having Ryan Williams wouldn’t have helped us,” Whisenhunt said. “It was pretty evident he is a talented young player. But it’s like anything, you don’t look back and say ‘You wish …’ or ‘You could’ve …’ because that’s the NFL.”

There will never be any way to know exactly how much Williams would have affected Beanie Wells. Beanie finally became the workhorse back this season with the Tim Hightower trade and Williams’ injury. After Beanie’s 245 rushing attempts, the Cards’ running backs have totaled 30 (Alfonso Smith), 22 (LaRod Stephens-Howling) and 17 (Chester Taylor). Taylor wouldn’t be on the team had Williams been around, and I’d be willing to be he’d have more than 69 rushing attempts (the total of the other three). As much as Beanie probably likes it, he’s not usually going to get 78 percent of the rushing attempts by the running backs.

Wells has had an outstanding season — 1,047 yards, 4.3 average, 10 touchdowns — especially considering he is playing on a bad knee. Whisenhunt talked about how the numbers were “significant” milestones. “I believe we have made progress but not the progress we want,” Whiz added. There have been missed opportunities and chances lost that are seen on video, but “that doesn’t mean anything to fans,” Whisenhunt said.

“Why are we not getting more out of it?” Whisenhunt said. “When we go back through our season, that will be one of the things we have to talk about. Why did this not happen? Some of the runs Beanie made earlier this year, he can’t make right now with the injury). You understand that.”

That’s where you figure Williams would have fit in so nicely. With a second explosive back to help while Beanie deals with the knee, what could that have meant? What could it mean next year?

Earlier this week, Williams tweeted a simple message: “I AM next year…and the years to come…” He is happy with his rehab and ready to play again in 2012. Assuming Williams does come back as he was, he’ll mean a lot to this running game, and to this team.


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16 Responses to “What Ryan Williams could mean”

  1. By D on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    R. Williams will be a nice addition next year.
    What I am disappointed in is that Mr. Graves appears to have not been able to extend any of the current players’ deals before Sunday, and we will see if anything gets done before the Superbowl. These are the things winning programs do on a consistant basis to improve.

  2. By George on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    This is why it is important the Cardinals upgrade their offensive line. We have seen what a healthy Beanie Wells can be and we saw the potential of Ryan Williams before the injury. The better the Cardinals can run the football, the less preasure on the passing game. It will also create big play opportunities down the field. The offensive line has to be the number one priority going into the off season. That starts with saying goodbye to Levi Brown. 5 years is more than enough time to know he is not worth re-signing. Most of us fans knew he was not the 5th best player on the board in 2007!

  3. By beardinals on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I’m ready.

  4. By Gary on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I hope Calais signs with the BIG RED! The team needs him because he is a game changer.

  5. By Jesse Robles on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply


  6. By KYLE on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    hey darren,

    what chances do you think we have of resigning campbell before he hits free agency?

  7. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Kyle —

    RE: Campbell re-signing

    Tough to put a percentage on it since I don’t know any details of the talks.

  8. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I’d still like to see the Cards draft another RB ifor depth n the later rounds of the 2012 draft. There’s no guarantee Beanie won’t have a balky knee again and obviously Williams has a notable injury history as well.

    Over the past few drafts, it certainly doesn’t appear that a player’s college injury history has mattered to the Cardinals. Schofield has made the front office look good in that regard, but the other draftees with a history of injuries have been so-so for the Cards.

  9. By AndHeSansSupper on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    How would Well’s piece of mind be when he knows he has to go to a platoon-type situation like he had with Hightower is what concerns me.
    He seems to like being the main guy (and pushing through nagging injuries, certainly seems to justify his point) but Whiz is notorious for being a two back system.
    It may have to be more of an adjustment for Wells than Williams.

  10. By cardsalltheway on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    “Assuming Williams does come back as he was, he’ll mean a lot to this running game, and to this team.”

    I don’t assume that!

    Ruptured patella tendons are rare in the NFL, and players returning after such an injury(major surgery ~ incision down the knee cap) are more rare. Those who do return are usually early round draft picks because teams are willing to keep the player to save face or try to justify their (2nd round) pick. It will be highly unlikely Williams will be as explosive in 2012, expect him to be only 2/3 of what he was. That’s not to say he won’t play or look descent in a game or two. If he is lucky and can make up some of the lost 1/3, he’ll do better in(2013), assuming he avoids further injuries. Given those facts, it’s another 2nd round (looming) bust.

  11. By drummer-1 on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    @ cardsalltheway

    I wish i could be as positive and happy as you are, you are just a ray of sunshine…

  12. By LUKE on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    thats a bold statement considering how well beanie played this year.hopefully the competition willremain friendly between the two and we can have them both running good….

  13. By jake on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    I cant wait to see him next year!

  14. By D.Blair on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply

    One Name…… William Powell Watch out for him, the GM is very fond of him & his versatility. He is on the practice squad right now but you WILL see William Powell “AkA WIPO BkA Coby” battle for playing time as KR & RB. Chester, Alphonso, & maybe Larod are on the outs after this season. So remember the name William Powell KR/RB

  15. By Eazy E on Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    Beanie and Ryan before the preseason injury, I thought should have been an open competition because Beanie was injured too much(not really his fault) and he always got outperformed by Hightower(His fault). Beanie played extremely well with a gimpy knee and proved alot of people wrong! I’ve always liked Beanie and was ecstatic when we drafted him, but before this season and his rookie year, I always knew he was very talented but inconsistent a bit and Hightower beat him out a number of times.

  16. By Eazy E on Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    I think Ryan will help a ton though.

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