Beanie and the future at running back

Posted by Darren Urban on December 26, 2012 – 9:45 am

When Beanie Wells said on Christmas Eve he thought it was “inevitable” he would be moving on from the Cardinals, it spotlighted what will be one of the positions that will see scrutiny this offseason.

Beanie could be brought back — his rookie contract runs through next season — but will the Cards want that? Beanie acknowledged “it’s a performance-based business and I don’t know if I’ve done things up to our organization’s standards here.” He’s had flashes, like his dominance against the Giants and the Rams last season, but those games came few and far between. Up until this season, he actually missed fewer games than many thought, but the constant storyline of his various aliments were what stuck in many fans’ minds. (It didn’t help that both Beanie and the team remained incredibly vague about some injuries, particularly his knee issues.)

Back in 2009, the top three running backs drafted were Knowshon Moreno by the Broncos (12th), Donald Brown by the Colts (27th) and Wells (31st). None have really sparkled, although Moreno, given a chance to return from the scrap heap of late after Willis McGahee’s injury, has done well. Beanie certainly showed — especially as a rookie — he could be special. He just didn’t do it often enough, and the problems at quarterback have not helped.

Bigger picture, the Cardinals will need to reassess where they are at the spot. Ryan Williams told me today he feels the best he has in two years with the Cards. His rehab has gone well with his shoulder — he is due a final surgery this week as a follow-up, he said — and the knee wrecked in 2011 is in great shape. He said he will be full-go in the offseason for the first time this spring. But again, Williams has to stay healthy for him to make an impact, and he hasn’t been in two seasons.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March, has not gotten a contract extension offer yet from the team. The Cardinals do want to bring him back, but it’s looking more and more like the Hyphen (below) will be allowed to test the market first. From there, anything can happen.

Guys like William Powell and Alfonso Smith will probably be kept around this offseason, but their future I’d guess will tie directly into what direction the team goes with the rest of the running back unit.

It’ll start with the decision on Beanie, however. When everyone is healthy, Beanie is the starter. Or at least he has been. We’ll see if the vibe Wells has is accurate.


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45 Responses to “Beanie and the future at running back”

  1. By Kevin S on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I really want to give a shot to Williams to be the feature back, but unfortunately in 2 years we’ve gotten zilch from him. I’d bid adieu to Beanie, and maybe give RW one more season… too bad we find ourselves saying that about a lot of guys… they show just enough to make us think they might be the one.

  2. By Kevin S on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I am surprised that someone would be so open about their “inevitable” departure… he says he’s auditioning for 31 other teams while still under contract for 2013? That kind of attitude irks me. I wouldn’t play him in the finale (unless it’s in an effort to build up trade value, but the odds of him doing anything vs. the Niners’ D are pretty low; if anything he probably stands a better chance of sustaining an injury that would decrease his trade value, than actually impressing anyone).

  3. By Darrel on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Steven Jackson should considered for a 3 year deal …he is what Chris wells is supose to be

  4. By Brian S. on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Does anyone else see a problem with all of our players not knowing what their status is? Docket, Wilson, Wells what’s the deal here? Can’t the front office even let players know where they stand? Is communication so poor? We have allowed a lot of talent to walk out the door (Rolle, Dansby, Boldin) is it because we can’t even communicate with these guys?

  5. By D on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Drafting Beanie in the first round and no talks with the Hyphen is a GM problem. Michael B better have a plan, and we as fans would like to see some action on Monday
    There are good players on the roster that could walk away as UFA. I don’t understand how they could let Sanders and Johnson test the free agency market and also talk about Adub not returning. Who is going to play safety? This draft is not that good for that spot. Of course the bigger issues with QB, RB, OL and Dockett leaves the fans to believe there is currently no leader in that front office.

  6. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Wilson

    Let’s be clear — the only person right now who has talked about Wilson not returning has been Wilson. He is trying to read the tea leaves, and he might be right. But he acknowledged he had not heard from the team on the subject.

  7. By Louisville Card on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I normally agree with you Darren, but I guess you don’t count the two stories that you wrote this week saying Wilson has probably played his last home game for the Cards?

    This Wilson story makes no sense at all??? How can you get rid of such a leader in the locker room, who is still a productive player, and his cap hit isn’t crazy? Hopefully whoever is having you write stories about Wilson possibly leaving will be gone themselves next week…

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Wilson

    Still can’t see where I wrote “probably” in regard to Wilson. Have I written it “could” be it? Yes. Lot different than probably.

    Again, Wilson brought up the subject first. No one has said anything to me from the organizational side, unless you count the Horton quotes in my story — and he didn’t say anything directly about it being the last game.

    As for making no sense, let’s not live in a land of make believe. Wilson was right when he said it’s not a good sign when your playing time is cut.

  9. By Peter in Canada on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    A discussion about the RB’s is unimportant until the QB situation is sorted out. Look at the QB ratings Kolb was 86 which is passable but he is so rarely available he can not be given the keys to the car. The other 3 are 55 or less which should get them cut tout de suite. Only when we have something resembling a passing attack can we make judgmental decisions about RB. I say look at Vick, Smith, or anyone else who might be available.

  10. By Jahstone on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells, and a third round pick to NE for Brandon Bolden (RB) and Ryan Mallet. Bring in QB Alex Smith as a F/A too. Plenty of depth at QB for now…

  11. By Brett n Co. on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Wow people are saying bring in Alex Smith, why? He is in a college system that works for him,he would be in the same position he was in in three years ago if he came here just another headache for our organization. So just like Mcdouble quit talking stupidity

  12. By Andrew on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I was just wondering how much cap space we have right now and what the projection for next year is.

  13. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Andrew —

    RE: Cap

    Not sure how much cap space there will be yet. Saw reports today cap will be about $121 M.

  14. By Brad O'Neill on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Brian s.- you are absolutely right on. in whizes never ending quest to find the absolute best person for each and every position he has let the concept of team fall completely away. when he started the theme was “we do this together” today the theme is. “screw up and your out” This team needs a player relations person that can smooth things over between the coaches and players. there is a lack of communication that leaves these professionals always feeling they are about to be replaced. and yes that is part of the job but a good coach knows how to balance competitiveness with helping a team gel together.

    I think Ken willl probably get it right eventually, he has some great qualities and will hopefully learn from his mistakes but since it is pretty much determined he has to go by his own failures. I hope we can at least lock up Horton as head coach before someone else snags him. think about this half our team is working well right now. if we lose horton that will probably go away. and yes ken deserves some of the credit for our defense but hey its a performance based league and we have to give ourselves the best chance to win right?

  15. By Dean Kennedy on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Beanie’s a bum, it’s obvious. Yeah, Beanie, fumbling on your own one yard line without being touched isn’t up to Pee Wee football standards.

  16. By MIKE G on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope your Christmas was good. I think the Cards will have a totally new offense in 2013. I can see like five or six new starters. I think the defense and special teams are fine but the offense needs to be retooled. They definitelt need 2 running backs that can stay on the field yet be productive. I think the future could be sketchy for both Wells and Williams.
    Beanie seems to be falling out of favor with Whisenhunt.
    Hey Darren–Injuries are just killing these two players and do you think the Cards organization will invest and count on these players over the next couple years???

  17. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Running backs

    I don’t know what is going to happen. I think Williams will get another chance for sure.

  18. By Dean Kennedy on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Why should Wilson come back? He hasn’t been able to cover an average or better tight end in years, and that attempted “tackle” against the Packers should have sealed his fate once and for all. He’s not even good for the occasional highlight reel hit that his sycophants love so much anymore.

  19. By sqhead on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    As the league has proven, good RB’s can be found late in the draft, as well as un-drafted rookies. There is no need to draft one early. What the FO should be concentrating on is a competent QB, and an Oline that can keep him upright, as well as make some holes for said RB.

    I think as fans we want to be more informed about what goes on off the field between management and players. The reality is we are not, and will not be privy to what goes on behind closed doors. To assume things are bad between the two because of a couple of things we read online is silly. The fact is we don’t know the full story. As far as Rolle, Dansby and Bolden are concerned. Rolle was drafted to be a CB and had to be switched to safety and was a free agent when he left, I think. Plus Rhodes is a better fit for our defense. Dansby no longer wanted to play here, the Cards offered him a new deal but he rejected it, then Miami over payed him. I would much rather have Darryl Washington roaming the field than Dansby. Bolden wanted out too, and since he has left, his production went way down. You can’t dwell on the past in the NFL, there is always going to be turnover on the roster, players get old, or disgruntled, or seek more money. Get over it and move on.

  20. By D on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Hope you had a good Christmas Darren.
    I wonder if Whiz will let them take his player personnel control and make him change his OC knowing he could get a OC job by end of next week? He could probably get a package deal with Grimm at his new spot. A buyout
    deal plus an OC salary wouldn’t be a bad fall back option.

    I also wonder if Haley and Horton have any type of relationship?


  21. By Iacardinal on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply


    I like your thinking on Mallett, i think he is a great prospect…

  22. By Iacardinal on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Andy Reid HC, Todd Haley OC, Horton DC, Norv Turner QB Coach, Keim GM. We can dream can’t we?! 🙂

  23. By ben on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Wont this decision be made by a new head coach and GM? Maybe wells may re -think that decision if Jim Tressell is the new head coach???

  24. By dave on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    The Cards don’t need anyone else’s “throw away” or backup QB’s. It’s time to invest in a Franchise QB although there doesn’t appear to be a “sure thing” in this year’s draft (not that there’s such a thing, i.e. Tom Brady in the 6th round and Ryan Leaf in the 1st). In my opinion, the Cards need to part ways with Kolb becuase of inury concerns (proven), Skelton (terrible), and Lindley (his completion percentage was never above 50 % in college—still wondering why they drafted him). On a side note– good bye and good riddens to Beanie– way to be a team player and “tryout” for 31 other temas (Belicheck would’ve cut him for even saying that). So, for an NFL Team to have to start from scrathc with 3 QB’s says alot about their front office and sadll, the Head Coach. The reality is, all three on the current roster (not counting Hoyer), need to go; 2 are not NFL qulaity, and the other can’t stay healthy. Maybe Hoyer can solidify a roster spot with a decent showing this weekend, albeit against a stellar 49er defense….. outlook is bleak in the near future

  25. By Chuck 1 on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Brian S.,

    Where should that communication begin?
    With Rod Graves.
    Just another reason that Graves should be shown the door.

  26. By Chuck 1 on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    IF Whiz is fired, HIRE BILL O’BRIEN!!!
    The Cards need a HC who has proven that he can put together an offense that puts points on the board. See the Patriots (rive years) and Penn State.
    Also, for those fans who believe that Horton should be elevated to HC, his inconsistent defense doesn’t justify it.

  27. By erik on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Brett n’ Co is right, bringing in Alex Smith will just make this nightmare of a QB situation continue for another season.

  28. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Flatfoot wells lol what a joke he is what every1 told me about him geez….

  29. By Kurt on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Beanie’s statement is offensive – Beanie has not lived up to expectations the cards should consider benching him, releasing him then moving on in 2013

  30. By Chuck 1 on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    For those fans who want Haley as OC or HC, look what he has done for (TO) the Steelers.
    Rothlesberger has put the Steelers into the playoffs almost every year and this season, they’ll be watching the playoffs from their family room contour chair.
    Why? I believe that Haley has a lot to do with that. As many of you probably know, Big Ben and Haley had a blowup a couple of weeks ago over Haley’s scheme for the offense.

  31. By john the draft guy on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    sure that trade would make sense for us, but why on earth would NE make that trade. When thinking of a trade, it has to benefit both teams in theory. NE has solid RBs and a good back up QB. Why would they want Wells and Kolb?

    Alex Smith;
    Alex Smith is under contract with the niners. Are you willing to make a Kolb like trade to get him? Why would the rival niners trade him to us? Not sure everyone is thinking that one out. Wouldnt it be smart to keep a vet around like Smith to back up the young starter?

    Brian S,
    I think the issue is, players like Dockett and Wilson are getting older, slowing down and have big salaries. I dont think it is an easy decision. At the end of the year, they will look at the film and see where they are at. Beanie thinks he may be gone because he has been a bust as a #1 pick RB compared to production. After another very subpar year, of course he thinks he will be cut. If you were in sales, and again you were in the bottom of the production list, wouldn’t you start wondering if you were going to be let go.

  32. By Cards girl on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    To everyone calling for changes and better communications—if you want the GM and/or head coach replaced, you are not going to see many contract extensions or offers until a new GM is hired. He is supposed to be the personnel man and why hamstring him by not giving him a chance to define his vision for the the team and allowing him to find the players who can make it happen. Just seems logical to me to wait.

  33. By Kevin S on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Re: Alex Smith, I have no idea if I’d want to give up what it would take to get him, but I can’t believe we have a division rival that was willing to bench a guy with a QBR over 104, a 70% completion percentage, and a 13-5 TD/INT ratio, and we’re now trotting out our 4th marginal QB of the year.

  34. By Craig on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Well IMO I still think and will always think Offensive Line is our major concern. I would draft Offensive Line until we have a line that is playoff caliber. It really doesn’t matter and NEVER will matter what QB we have until we the line that makes our whole offense better. Better pash protection, better run blocking, and better screen play. It starts and ends with the line.

  35. By Brian Hoyer on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks for calling me marginal, Kevin! 😉

  36. By johnnybluenose on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    i’ve never been a big fan of beanie wells but i don’t think he should be criticized for stating that he is no longer in the cardinals’ plans and therefore is in audition mode. he is only speaking the truth and i would rather hear the truth than the gibberish that we get from whiz and most of the players. and how was beanie supposed to redeem himself for his fumble last week? what did he have, four carries all game? it’s hard to gain any yards when you are glued to the bench. if whiz is here next year then i do not expect beanie here.

  37. By philly cards 1994- on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    If bryan hoyer was hope he would have been unemployed.
    Having said that I believe that when mike b came to speak he also gave rod graves back the keys.people are blaming him but he had his job taken away and was working for yrs without a contract,he just got one in 2010 but only after whiz got his deal.graves and kiem are glorifed admin assistants. No way whiz would admit he’s dumb and ask for hoyer. That was rod

    And i’m tired of whiz beanie and ryan williams.why was whiz using him so much. I can imagine playing madden with williams inj=25 car=40.sure give him 25 carries!only good things can happen.

    Confused veterans. Non progressing youth. The mayan calendar pointed to the end of our cardinals.

  38. By BIG RED on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    This whole season just sucked big time!!!!!! No more season tickets for me.

  39. By hminus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    draft priorities: 1.stud o-lineman to solidify line improvement,( think kalil in minnesota-& adrian petersons breakout season,) 2. not 1 but 2 productive & DURABLE!!!,(sorry-that really needed to be highlighted,) rb’s to run behind the new improved line, & its not really necessary to list the other areas now-because if we get even an nfl AVERAGE running game,(110-115 ypg,) then whatever else we have will produce a 9-7 or better result – GUARANTEED.

  40. By Joe A on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply


  41. By LUKE on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    darrel,steven jackson? long in the tooth,wouldnt you say?yeah lets bring edgerrin james back too.cmon man!we could have had AP but instead got Levi.Man,

  42. By Mike P on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    Beanie’s true colors really showed with that comment. Beanie is a legend in his own mind, and always has been. He was overrated when he came in, and the only place he’s still overrated is – in his own mind. Fitz may be thinking the same thoughts relative to his own future and goals for a championship, but he’s way too smart to make such a stupid remark. Now, Beanie has set himself up. I hope the heck he leaves. He’s a wimp and a whiner, and his production does not warrant a return. Good bye, and good riddance to what we all knew was a risky if not poor pick when he was brought here.

  43. By hminus on Dec 31, 2012 | Reply

    trade beanie for a draft choice & use the choice to build up the rushing attack,( it was the biggest problem we had this season-even though qb was a headache- having 101.6 ypg of production last yr. helped skelton go 5-2/ whereas 75.3 ypg rushing exposed our offense as a 1 trick pony w/ no options.)

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