Earlier in the week the Arizona Cardinals found out RB Ryan Williams will miss the rest of the season to shoulder surgery. That leaves the Cardinals very thin at the position, so what are they going to do? Well, all signs point to William Powell getting the start this weekend. The Cardinals will probably mix in newly acquired Alfonso Smith and change-up back LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Basically, the Cardinals are putting their run game into the hands of a couple of guys that have very little experience. Powell has just three carries in his NFL career and Stephens-Howling has less than 100. Can these guys do enough to help the Cardinals win on Sunday?
The Cardinals are a good team, but they are 31st in rushing yards in the league. The only thing bad these guys can do is lose the football. If they do start to lose the ball they will pass on almost every down and it would be a bad decision for the Cardinals to give up on the run entirely. Not only would it hurt their line, but QB Kevin Kolb would have any even bigger target on his back. Lets not forget the Kolb was sacked nine times last week, and eight the week before. It’s hard to imagine that getting worse, but it could if the defensive ends don’t have to worry about contain.
If the Cardinals do decide to give up on the run I would expect Stephens-Howling to get more playing time as a receiver out of the backfield. He is quick and small, at just 5’7″, and may be able to slip out of the backfield unnoticed at some points in the game. However, Stephens-Howling is listed as questionable after missing last week against the St. Louis Rams. Powell is not much taller, at 5’9″, but he does have a little more bulk.
In my opinion, both rushers can be used effectively, but I don’t think the Cardinals will need a good run game against the Buffalo Bills in week 6. The Cardinals will come out firing the ball down field as they look to steamroll through the Bills.