Sports

Cardinals Must Keep LaRod Stephens-Howling

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Following a 5-11 season - that includes a 10 game losing streak - there is serious appetite for change in Arizona. The defense did its part to keep this team in games on a weekly basis, only to watch horrible quarterbacking and offense in general embarrass themselves. Generally I find that the stats don’t tell the whole story, but the Cardinals being ranked dead last in total offense almost seems generous. Not entirely sure how, but having watched this team - from the beginning of the season to the end - if there was a position worse than dead last they’d surely deserve it.

There you have why Bruce Arians was hired ahead of Ray Horton. To fix this offense, and help develop a quarterback. There will be many tough decisions ahead for Arians and his management team, and one of them will be whether they bring back LaRod Stephens-Howling for another season with the Cardinals.

Stephens-Howling is one of only six players from the Cardinals offense currently slated to hit free agency. The other five are depth players and about as expendable as they get. Stephens-Howling on the other hand, not so much.

Although his lack of size makes it impossible for Stephens-Howling to perform as an every down back, he has the speed and agility to be a great third down or change of pace back. He led all Cardinals running backs last season with 357 yards and 15 first downs. His total yardage from the 2012 season though is an impressive 463 yards. Best of all, not a single fumble either.

Keeping Stephens-Howling just makes sense no matter how you look at it. It won’t cost the team much, and he is a great depth option. He’s a fearless runner, with great cuts and a knack for big plays. With Beanie Wells most likely heading elsewhere and Ryan Williams almost constantly hurt why not keep him as a little insurance? I see no reason not to.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV