Williams was “scared” and running back questions

Posted by Darren Urban on February 13, 2013 – 10:40 am

When Bruce Arians was first hired, he talked about taking shots downfield, and people getting too hung up on how much a team runs the ball as opposed to how effective it was in the ground game, and how where a team stood on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter ultimately dictated how much a team was going to run.

But he also said “we will have an attack, and we will start with the run.”

Who will be running it? That’s a good question.

I expect Ryan Williams to have the chance to be one of them. As Williams said, he’s got the label of being “damaged goods,” and he has a lot to prove. Between a torn hamstring, ruptured patella tendon and fracture of his left shoulder, his last three years — one at Virginia Tech, two in the NFL — have been forgettable. But he’s feeling a ton better going into 2013 and thinks no one saw the real Williams last year in his brief time because his patella and knee weren’t ready, and he played like it.

“I won’t say I was rushed, but … people don’t even understand what was going through my head when I got that ball,” Williams said. “Say I was running to my left side, my whole right side is exposed. I’m ducking, I’m curling, I don’t want to get touched. The first thing as a running back, you can’t be scared, and those four games, I was scared. I’m not going to lie.”

Even if Williams returns and can do well, he can’t be the only option. Beanie Wells is here in the final year of his contract — he was rehabbing alongside Williams the other morning — and his status is also interesting. The relationship between he and former coach Ken Whisenhunt seemed strained by the end and perhaps Wells benefits from a fresh start. The Cards must decide what to offer unrestricted free agent LaRod Stephens-Howling, who seems likely to hit the open market at this point.

There has been speculation of a connect-the-dots variety that the Cards might go after unrestricted free agent Rashard Mendenhall, whose time with the Pittsburgh Steelers is coming to an end but who performed pretty well for Arians when Arians was offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. Mendenhall has battled a lot of injuries the last two years, however. Then there is the real possibility the Cards use a draft pick at some point. Alfonso Smith and William Powell are still in the mix for now, but again, when you have a new staff and a new offense, it’s hard to know exactly the direction the roster might go.

(In a semi-related note, running back Javarris James, who spent the 2012 season on injured reserve after blowing out his knee in the preseason, has been suspended the first four games of the 2013 season, according to multiple reports. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said it was for substance abuse. James is an exclusive rights free agent. I’m not sure if the Cards were planning on bringing him back, but this news doesn’t help. James can take part in the offseason/training camp if needed.)


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29 Responses to “Williams was “scared” and running back questions”

  1. By D on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Well and Williams for sure. Hyphen will get picked up by Whiz or Horton. Powell will be given a chance in training camp. Free agent running backs are too beat up and want too much $—, have to go to the draft for the third running back. I say S. Taylor from Stanford.

  2. By shannon robinson on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Cardinal fans deserve to see Beanie Wells run through well blocked open holes. I saw it occasionally and then rarely. The reasons why are no longer of any value. We need to enjoy the benefits of who he is as a runner.

  3. By erik on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    I agree D. Keep Wells and Williams. If the Alabama running back Lacy can be had in round 2 or 3 like everyone is saying, they should try to snag him. That guy is awesome.

  4. By Patrick Eagan on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Personally I think the cardinals should ditch all of the running backs except for LaRod Stephens-Howling. He’s a good third down back. I don’t want my favorite team to be built on Running backs that aren’t durable. I like Ryan Williams a lot. How can we put it up with it though. We drafted him 2 years ago. He’s played in 3 or 4 games??? Thats ridiculous. Same thing with Beanie. The 2011 season was his only good season. Even though, he was hurt pretty much the whole year. Every other year he’s been injured and had to battle through injuries. I am not saying neither of these guys are tough, I am just saying it’s time to get a running back that makes it through the season. William Powell is a maybe to me.

    Why do you think the cardinals sucked ever since Kurt Warner left. The previous staff didn’t want to change the philosophy that was put into place. They wanted to just keep flinging the ball around. The reason why they didn’t change the scheme to fit around the players is because They couldn’t run the ball. Injuries or lack of talent at the running back position kept the Cardinals from becoming a running team after Kurt left. They never could find their identity. I believe Bruce Arians will definitely help fix that. He will coach up Kevin Kolb. I still believe in Kevin Kolb. But again, because of his injuries issues, it would be wise for the cardinals to bring in someone. I think it really should be through the draft so we can develop him.

  5. By D on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    The more I hear BA talk about his Qb’s on the roster, I more I think he will dump all 3 and go with new blood. This is the best time for roster turnover with a new regime.
    Cut Kolb (6 mil hit) cut Skelton and cut Lindley
    Sign D. Stanton, a 3rd round QB draft pick and….sign M. Moore to a 2 yr deal. (3 mil and 3.5 mil base with 1mil signing bonus)

  6. By dont run d wash's way on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    darren can we get an article on anquan please. he pretty much dug this franchise out of the hole it was in before he was drafted.. i know many fans would appreciate it.

  7. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Don’t Run —

    RE: Anquan

    Not sure what I’d say about the situation now.

    If you want to reminisce about his Cards’ time, here is a post I wrote as he was leaving:

  8. By Ditship on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Ryan Williams is a depressing subject to me. I don’t think you could start a career worse then this kid.. Well Maybe Buster Davis or Cody Brown were worse in recent memory… at least this guy got to play in games even if it was rather poorly. The most frustrating thing was the guys still available in the draft that year that were sitting there when we took Williams (and no I’m not talking hindsight but what was clearly there.. Brooks Reed being the best example).

    I really hope he does something good this year. It sounds like he’ll get his chance with Arians. Make all of us doubters wrong man.

  9. By erik on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply


    I remember getting upset because I thought for sure we would take Reed.
    But how can you not root for Williams? He just seems like a great guy. Obviously you feel the same.

    On a unrelated note. I have a hunch B.A. will fall for John Skelton. Unlikely, I know, but that is gonna be my crazy prediction for now. B.A. falls for the big QB and Skelton is the only current QB still on our roster come training camp. Calling it now. Tell me how delusional I am, haha.

  10. By cobra on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply


    Re: QBs:

    Moore, really, he sucks. I would rather see Alex Smith first. QBs, Smith, umm, no. Geno, no. I tend to agree with John The Draft Guy in regards to Carson Palmer. if he becomes available to the cards through FA. Not a fan of USC QBs, been there, done that. Palmer could be an asset if Kolb breaks down again. QBs will move up in the draft, time will tell. If Glennon, Wilson, or Jones fall to the 2nd round, that far, which I doubt, maybe we move up if BA sees potential. Another thought: The Broncos are set at QB. A little late now but maybe they would trade Oswieller for a #2 and a #4? That would be better than what’s on the board.

  11. By Cody Zarr on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply


    Good piece on the backs. Its going to be interesting watching the situation progress with the new leadership intact.

    As a side note, when you click on a link in Google news because the headline sounds interesting and is about the Cardinals do you roll your eyes and close the window like I do when you find out it was written by Bleacher Report?

  12. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Cody —

    RE: Links

    I think I’ll refrain from commenting about Bleacher Report.

  13. By Texascard on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Ryan Williams admits being scared. Man up Ryan your in the NFL. Run or get out. The question is can Levi and bridges return be enough to put the line into top half of the NFL shape. No line, no qb and no running game. But scared needs to be cut in any position.

  14. By iammattyoung on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply


    That’s what happens when you get “cute” in the draft (i.e. drafting Ryan WIlliams instead of the outside speed rusher from the state you play in, drafting Levi Brown instead of Adrian Peterson, drafting Michael Floyd instead of Melvin Ingram or Riley Reiff). Hopefully that kind of bone-headedness went out with Graves and Whisenhunt.

    P.S. Don’t sign Mendenhall. We already have a bruising, injury-prone running back that we’re paying a lot less.

  15. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Percy Harvin traded straight up for LaRuSH.

    Okay, I’ll turn around and leave now.

  16. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Round 2: Stepfan Taylor (RB) – Stanford

  17. By red see rider on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    why dont u throw in AP while ur at it 😉

  18. By ored on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    we seem to be pretty set at recievers,well maybe someone with speed would help,oregon st.reciever kid from florida or the one from clemson for rb help still need help across from pp maybe the tenessee qb late,he’s good enough to be challenging mannings stats at tenn. lots of choices for pass rusher,be nice to get one that can also play inside against the run at the very least more depth to develop at o-line almost seems like christmas shopping,lol. would be nice to hit the lottery on someone or two but should be ok with just solid contributors.will be interesting to see who pops up at the combine and then who the sleepers are,hype should be starting soon.

  19. By NYCardinals212 on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    Could we all vote on a common bedtime for the fake Madden Football GM’s?

  20. By NYCardinals212 on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    Is it difficult for you as a beat-reporter / team-writer to present your work in a sober, factual manner when it seems that the vast majority of sports writing is rooted in conjecture and self-claimed prophetism? I come to AZCardinals for the straight, confirmed facts. I never have to delineate between the hypothetical and the actual with your work. If you ever become “them”, I will have nowhere else to go. Other than watching the Cardinals games, I read only you and Kent Somers — everyone else is just talk, talk, talk.

  21. By Darren Urban on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    NYCardinals212 —

    RE: Sportswriting

    The sports writing world has morphed quite a bit in the golden age of talk radio/social media/everyone is a blogger. (Now I’m sounding all Clint Eastwood — “Get off my lawn!”

    We can all only do what we do. It’s really up to each individual reader to trust and buy into what they want to. It’s not like there were never rumors or off-base reports back when newspapers did everything. There is just a lot more chance of it now because there are so many more outlets.

    And in the end, this is, quite frankly, exactly what the NFL wants — talk about the NFL, 24/7/365. There is no offseason, and in times when not a lot is going on, that means a lot of time for pure speculation.

  22. By joe67 on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    Eric, I agree about Skelton. Don’t count him out just yet. I think the last regime got him all messed up. He seemed to get progressively worse. Proper coaching just might do something for him. He has the size and arm, and doesn’t get rattled. That is three big pluses.
    I still think we will have someone new at qb next year, but you never know. Long long way to go. Fun speculating tho.

  23. By bluepitt on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    @Patrick Eagan,
    Are you serious? did you watch any games? there was no blocking or running asighnments on the line , they just blocked the dude in front of them!!!! look at Wells stats they are great, He is running un blocked every play! Did you read the post when BA said there will be pulling guards and a running plan? Get a clue bro, just watch other teams and the way they have blocking skeems then watch the Cards under our double headed Grim/miller Pass and run quad? what is that the head doesnt know what the body was doing!

  24. By D on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    IF Josey Wales or Dirty Harry told me to get off his lawn, I would listen. Mock drafts and free agent fits just pass the time until we get confirmation from the team. More media outlets, more pundits/so called experts just filling space and trying to sell advertising. I don’t consider any of the big name writers on the big websites having any more knowledge of a team or player than a local fan who follows and reads Urban’s information. Expectations rise and pressure mounts for all the teams’s front offices and Head Coaches. It’s big business.

  25. By Jason Marcus on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    I agree people , I really was bummed out for Skelton this year I wanted him to break out so bad last year but instead he regressed,it was awful. I think Kolb can get the job done too, but will never stay healthy a full season. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I do agree, in BA I trust , he could bring Skelton back from the abyss , so who’s staying and who’s going D? This is way more interesting watching this offseason play out than the past 3 , GO CARDS!

  26. By Matt Whetstine on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    I say we draft Le’veon Bell. in round 2 after we draft a left tackle in round 1. We need a RB that can be used in the passing game as well as a short yardage guy as well as a RB that can stay healthy. This guy fits that bill.

  27. By cobra on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    Jason Marcus:

    Skelton can barely hit the barn, much less the door. In the NFL you better be able to hit the window. He cannot, he’s done in AZ.

  28. By Mike61 on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    I’ve watched all of the games Wells has played in. He’s unhurt for about two plays and then is nicked up or out entirely. Classic example of “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane”. Wide open holes rarely happen in the NFL. Check out Adrian Peterson for an example of a running back. Ryan W. will probably get just one more chance at RB, hope he can stay healthy…..It’s not all about toughness, sometimes it’s just DNA.

  29. By William Barry on Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    I hope we keep Ryan Williams, he just has had bad luck the last two years.—he’s a very good running back, that can scare defenses when he gets out in the open field. Keep Beanie too, I think a new HC helps his cause.

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