The plan for Ellington, Mendenhall

Posted by Darren Urban on October 28, 2013 – 1:21 pm

At 4-4 at the bye, Bruce Arians would have liked another win or two at this point, but .500 will work for now. The main news from Monday’s day-after-a-win-and-before-a-limited-week of practice was still Andre Ellington and the way Arians will juggle those running backs when Rashard Mendenhall comes back healthy from his toe injury. (That’s assumed to be the next game, but who really knows at this point.)

Arians didn’t say anything Monday that would set in concrete Ellington would stay the starter at running back. He didn’t say anything that would set in concrete Mendenhall would stay the starter either. He reiterated that Ellington would get the touches they had planned for him to get (he had 17 Sunday on 33 snaps, and that’s about what the Cardinals would like to do each week) and that if Mendenhall plays, he would take the work back from rookie Stepfan Taylor, who had 14 carries Sunday.

“We’ll see how that plays out when (Rashard)  comes back,” Arians said, later adding, “I’ll evaluate it when he comes back but I’m sure he will resume his role, as long as he’s full-speed.”

What did the performances of Ellington and Taylor say to Arians Sunday? “It basically reiterated what I said, we have a good group of running backs,” Arians said. “Ryan (Williams) can play too. I knew we did. I don’t think you can have enough of them, because in a wink, they can all be gone.”

Arians did say Ellington needs to improve his pass blocking “to stay out there” and improve his patience as a runner.

— Ellington’s 7.74 yards per rush is tops in the NFL for anyone with at least 40 carries.

— Arians said Bobby Massie did well in his turns at right tackle (21 snaps, and graded positively according to The Cards will continue to try and get him snaps, but because he plays just one position, his active status could change depending on injuries.

— The Cardinals were healthy coming out of the game, which sets them up well for the bye and recovery time, Arians said.

— Tyrann Mathieu started at safety with Rashad Johnson coming off the bench, grabbing two interceptions. Arians said that could continue but he wouldn’t commit to it.

— Arians said he doesn’t mind QB Carson Palmer having just 18 pass attempts when the team is running the way it was. But the Cards did just have 54 offensive snaps, and he wanted the third-down conversion rate to be better than 3-for-10 — and more plays would have likely meant a few more passes.

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29 Responses to “The plan for Ellington, Mendenhall”

  1. By Gman on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    I noticed Rob Housler only caught one pass at the end of the game.Is BA creating plays for him? Is Rob not getting open? Also I noticed # 12 doesn’t get alot of throws either.Is this because the run game was so effective? I just feel the tight end could help convert third downs.I feel if the Cardinals could use all their weapons effectively,they could be a powerhouse.I still believe!

  2. By joe.holst on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    Does this trade make sense to you? Tight end Brandon Myers from the NY Giants for Ryan Williams. .Myers caught 79 passes last year from Carson Palmer while with the Raiders and would give the Cards and Palmer some chemistry and a tight end presence the Cards are sorely lacking. Ryan Williams would give the Giants a bona fide NFL starter with huge upside. I know it is a long shot but would make sense for both teams in my opinion. Thanks

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    joe.holst —

    RE: Trade

    The Giants have Andre Brown and David Wilson coming back from injury. Why would they trade for Williams?

  4. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Must admit, I had to check myself mentally after the Palmer INT in Q1.. I was damning him … or it, or something. But I stopped talking to myself, dug down deep:) and got back into our D and that was key.

    Palmer was Palmer, weak when under duress, awesome in play action with protection. But he is steely mentally strong… And Teddy Williams (sp? correct name?) was so far open.. then fell down adjusting to ball. Funny and fun. Its hard to catch a bomb, he’s had little experience so bravo to the new dude!!!!

    Ellington, in the end, is a game changer and a game plan changer… bodes well for 2nd half for Cards.

    Notable: Palmer had among best games in game 8, bodes well for 2nd half…


    What the hell happened to Potter? he was very good 2nd half of last year. How does a guy like that regress so much with better and more coaching?

    Notice 2 OL penalties in first Q? What’s up with that? On on C for holding..

  5. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Potter

    I don’t know if he regressed that much or everyone was just thinking too much of him in a dire situation.

  6. By Austin Cross on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    The cardinals have to start Ellington. Hes playing extremely well and has the skill set be an up and coming star in the NFL if he can get his touches. The Cardinals got something special with such a late draft pick and they should take full advantage of what he brings to the table.

  7. By joe.holst on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Ryan WiIliams would assist the Giants and give them the push they need to win the NFC Eas,t which is still within reach even though they are only 2-4. David Wilson is terrible,
    Andre Brown is unproven and rusty, that leaves Peyton Hillis who 2 weeks ago was working on his soybean farm . So that is why the Giants need to reach out and add a bona fide RB such as Ryan Williams .

  8. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Joe —

    RE: Ryan Williams

    I love Ryan. Great guy. But Andre Brown is unproven yet Ryan is bona fide?

  9. By Scott H on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    The plan? Um…how ’bout this – we make Ellington THE starter and give him the VAST majority of the carries the rest of the way? What is so complicated here? To me, that’s not a knee-jerk reaction. If you want a guy to be your RB and you believe he CAN be your RB, then you have to put him out there and let him BECOME your RB. Period. Look at what the redskins found last year when they gave Alfred Morris the job and that was that! They found a helluva RB and the workload they gave him helped make that happen.

    So…forget Mendehhall ( well, not completely, he can still play a role here this season ) and forget Ryan Williams ( what’s ths point? ). Let’s give Ellington a chance and the workload he needs to BE the RB we have needed since….when???

  10. By erik on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Thank you Scott, well said.

    I do not understand the obsession with Ryan Williams. He seems like a great guy from what I’ve read. That being said, he obviously can’t stay healthy and even when he was, he was a below average back who danced too much in the backfield, lacks top end speed, and has ball security issues. Bona Fide!? That is too funny. That ship has sailed as far as I am concerned.

    Scott H has it right. Let Ellington have the most carries. Doesn’t have to be 25 handoffs a game. What is so hard about that?

  11. By ored on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    @don’t take losses

    lol,it’s only weird if it does’nt work,bear down on the defense,they’re gonna keep us in games and if t/overs and sp teams give us field position then the 2nd half of season should be better.

  12. By Chris B on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    RE: Ellington- if it happens once, it’s an aberration. Twice, you got lucky. But three times? If he can do the same to defenses that are similar in skill to the Falcons like the Texans and Jags have, I’d say he proved something. Meaning this- give him the carries and see if he matches his production against suspect (or ‘like’) defenses.

    I’ve said it before, and I like to repeat it because I think I’m right; you had to give this team 6-8 games for the offense to get it. Peyton Manning needed 6-8 games and he’s Peyton-freaking-Manning. I believe Palmer turned a corner this game. He won’t throw 25 TD’s and 0 INTs the rest of the year but he’ll be better from here on out.

  13. By Chuck 1 on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Re: All the obsession about playing Ryan Williams.

    He is injury prone. He’s weak at protection.

    And, who can we thank for drafting him in the second round (when our needs were elsewhere)? Rod Graves.

  14. By Rich on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply


    Just wanted to suggest that maybe you can feature Michael Floyd in an article. The kid has played really well and he seems to get very little media attention. And besides his game, he seems to have his head together and carry himself as a real professional.

  15. By John m on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    As much as i love to agree with giving Ellington the majority of the carries, im still siding with the coaches opinions about taking care of him and watching his carries. He was slow getting up a couple of times sunday when getting hit. Alfonso showed how strong he was running the ball running over people and chugging his legs. We have a good set of backs but in my opinion Mendenhall is more of a third down short yardage back. I would also like to see more backfield screen passes than middle 5 wide screens, Ellington would rock that.

  16. By Wildcard on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    We still had 3 sacks in 18 drop backs. Running game didn’t help their overall Pass blocking Efficiency.

  17. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    Wildcard —

    RE: Dropbacks

    It would be 22 dropbacks. There were 18 pass attempts, plus three sacks and one scramble.

  18. By blue pitt on Oct 28, 2013 | Reply

    As I do agree with you on Williams, You cant put Andre in as the Full time back his body cant handle it..(see R.Williams) Before you say names like Ray Rice and stuff, you have to look at the build and how long he keeps his Legs fresh to hit those 80yd runs.. Mendinhall is a beast and I like Taylor as well, they can get the hard yards. If Mendinhall has been hurt for as long as they say then give him a shot to heal up. like every one is asking for Larry to get with his hammys.. Mendenhall was a work horse in pitt…

  19. By Eazy E on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    Oh BA shut up already talking about Ellington needs to improve his pass blocking and improve his patience as a runner… He’s the only offensive player save for Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd because anybody with a 1/4 of a eye knows what’s going on there, he is saving our offense from NFL Hell offensively. Most if not all backs need to improve their pass protection or blitz pickup when they come in the league and patience, how the hell did he look on that 80 yarder big boy? And on several big nice runs this year..

  20. By Eazy E on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    Why would Mendenhall get his starting job back? He only has a 3.1 yard average and below even 300 yards rushing my Lord! He ain’t getting the yardage that Ellington is getting and it isn’t even O-line woes this time or the whole year because you’ve seen Ellington because it is day and night the difference between the 2 backs running behind our O-line. Rashard kinda gets a little bit but Andre wants it too.

  21. By Steve on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    Ryan Williams will play, when his turn comes up…just chill out, already! 8 games left, three undersized RB’s, one work horse. Injuries, nicks, bruises are to be factored in. Conclusion: there’s nothing wrong with having one fresh horse in the stable. It’s all about pacing when you have RB by committee!.

  22. By waka flocka on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    Arians is too focused on trying to be Don Coryell. Someone needs to tell him it is ok if Ellington isnt the greatest pass blocker.I think just having him in the backfield puts defenses on their toes which frees up the passing game instead of having dbs drop back and wait for palmer to throw a pick.

  23. By Scott H on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    erik –

    Thanks. Been a long time since someone said I was right about anything!

  24. By ored on Oct 29, 2013 | Reply

    we have’nt seen williams to this point and barring injury,we probably won’t,they probably bring ellington along carefully and give stepfan some looks,it seems like whether ba likes rb by committee or nor,that is where we are headed.
    now give the two speed guys teddy and golden some some chances and our offense starts looking much better,just maybe the field opens up enough with options that the picks start falling and the chunk plays become the norm and fitz can go back to doing what he does best,catching tds.geez,if it was this easy,how come it took so long,lol.

    need to study that rams/seattle film,seattle was beat so many ways don’t know how they ended up with the w.good to see them come back to earth even if they still won,for awhile it seemed like everybody was just gonna hand them the title.

  25. By giorgio on Oct 30, 2013 | Reply

    All and all this is a pretty decent run, considering a new coach, host of new players, new system, new QB, etc. It would have been nice to have won the first game against the Rams…and we should have. Arians, Keim and company need a fair chance, at least two years under their belt. As we get better, add more and better skilled players in the next few years, the 49ers and Seahawks will drop off some. Their goal as it should be is to grab the gold now/this year. Lets give Arians a break and not forget what he inherited–a pretty disjointed unit. The fact that Arians comes from the Steelers and Colts of late demonstrates alone that the guy doesn’t tolerate losers or losing. Period. Go Cards in second half of season. The NFL itself has a bigger problem–all the injuries!! It’s going to take a 100 players per team just to stay competitive in the future.

  26. By Dre on Oct 30, 2013 | Reply

    I’m surprise no one is making the comparison of Andre Ellington to Jamal Charles. I think that’s would change pretty quick if Andre got Jamal Charles type carries per game.

    I had Thomas Jones and Jamal Charles on my fantasy team a few years back and they drove me crazy. It seemed as if when I would start one the other would have a big game. Charles finished with over 1,400 yards that year and Thomas had almost 900.

    Hopefully BA finds the second part of the RB tandem soon. How exciting!!!

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