Arizona Cardinals: Could Ryan Williams Push Beanie Wells For No. 1 Running Back Spot?

While most of the focus for the Arizona Cardinals early on in training camp has been on their quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, there could very well be another battle brewing in the Arizona backfield.

Earlier this week, the Cardinals placed Beanie Wells on the active PUP list. That’s not so much of a surprise, as he’s still recovering from offseason knee surgery. But you’d hope he’d be well enough to practice at this point.

It remains to be seen how long Wells is on the list, but absent from the list is Ryan Williams, who is also recovering from a knee injury, albeit a much more serious one.

Drafted out of Virginia Tech in the 2011 Draft, Williams was expected to form a strong tandem in the backfield with Wells last season. His season ended before it started though, as Williams tore his patellar tendon in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He’s still recovering from that injury.

He’s nearing 100 percent, though. He doesn’t expect it to be long before he reaches full strength and should be completely good to go by the time the season rolls around.

Once he suits up for the Cardinals for the first (official) time, Williams gives the Cardinals a home run threat out of the backfield. He’s a finesse runner, with great vision and deadly quickness on the field. He turned heads last summer at camp, before he went down with the injury, and he’s doing it again.

The longer the coaching staff looks at Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells watches, you do have to wonder if it could end up leading to a change in the featured back. Williams certainly has the look of a no. 1 back, though it remains to be seen how much of a load he could actually handle.

Ultimately, Wells will be the no. 1 guy for the Cards, once he’s back on the field. But the longer he sits out, the more intriguing of a situation this could end up turning into

Assuming Beanie is healthy and gets back to practice in a reasonable amount of time, along with Williams, the Cardinals could have themselves a very nice pair taking carries this season. Combine the bruising style of Beanie Wells with the quick and agile style of Ryan Williams, and you have a duo that will be tough for anyone to stop.


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  • Steven Resnick

    Either way the Cardinals have an incredibly weak running game.