How’s this for a change of pace in Arizona? The Cardinals already have their starting running back in mind, and new head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t exactly shy about getting it out there either.
That running back, Rashard Mendenhall.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, really. Arians was the offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers when the club drafted Mendenhall and as such has developed a working relationship with him over the past. They spent exactly four years together in Pittsburgh, and produced some very respectable numbers in the ground game throughout.
Arians has praised Mendenhall as an “every-down player” and has also been complimentary of his prowess in pass protection. The new Cardinals coach also raised a very good point about Mendenhall’s age (he’s only 25), and has shied away from the possibility of having a backfield that splits reps.
Make no mistake about it, this is Mendenhall’s job. While the plan is to keep Ryan Williams as a change of pace back, that will be the limitation of his role. Barring injury or inconsistent play, of course.
The Cards gave another sign of confidence in Mendenhall by confirming that they wouldn’t pursue recently released running back Willis McGahee. All in all, I think Mendenhall’s new club values him just a little bit more than his last. Not saying much, but I’m not gonna rain on his parade...
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV