Everybody knows that new Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is vertically-minded when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. That’s why Andrew Luck led all rookie quarterbacks with passes over 20 and 40 yards last season with Arians as his coach. Now Arians doesn’t have nearly as much talent under center in Arizona, but he’s not backing down. He’s determined to have a vertical passing attack and not rely on dink and dunk passes to his running backs to move the chains.
Arians blatantly told the Cardinals’ website that running backs aren’t meant to catch passes; instead, they’re just supposed to run and help protect the quarterback on passing downs. Well, we definitely know where he stands on Arizona running backs Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams and LaRod Stephens-Howling, who have all shown flashes of brilliance as well as a lot of not-so-brilliant play during their young careers.
But maybe that’s because of the scheme in Arizona over the past few seasons. Arians’ model for the Cardinals’ offense is entirely different than anything they’ve run since Kurt Warner retired and that could cure their woes at running back. It certainly won’t help the passing game unless the Cardinals find a decent quarterback, but it sure can’t make things worse. A big-time receiver like Larry Fitzgerald will benefit a lot more from a vertical passing attack like Arians’ than a makeshift West Coast offense designed around a noodle-armed quarterback. In short, pick Larry Fitzgerald for your fantasy football team this year, but don’t take a Cardinals running back. You knew that already, right?