Last season, there was no explosion to the Cardinals’ running game. Andre Ellington was hobbling before the regular season even began, and there was really no one else on the roster to break one loose consistently. That showed by the end of the season, when the Cardinals had only 32 total runs of 10 yards or more.
This season, the Cardinals already have nine such runs in just two games.
It helps that Ellington was healthy to start the season — he had four runs of at least 10 yards all by himself in the opener, and he didn’t even play all of it before hurting his knee. You’d like to think that Ellington can take his time returning, making sure that explosion is there. Last year, the Cardinals had to have him. This year, they have Chris Johnson — whose entire career has been built on explosive runs — and rookie David Johnson, who in a very small sample size is beginning to look like explosive runs is what he is all about.
The breakdown of the 10-yard-plus runs thus far:
Andre Ellington 18, 16, 14, 10
Chris Johnson 12
Carson Palmer 12
David Johnson 13T, 14, 13
It’s questionable Ellington can return this week against the 49ers . (Arians made it sound like he’d miss at least one more game.) The Niners also have a better run defense than what the Cardinals have seen. But when the Cards can take a seam and make it worth something, it’s a big reason why the offense is clicking and why Palmer has some room to operate throwing the ball.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, David Johnson
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