Arizona fans were obviously thrilled to hear the news that the Cardinals and star wideout Larry Fitzgerald had come to terms on a monstrous new contract. Unfortunately, that raucous enthusiasm was tempered on Friday night against Green Bay when second-round pick Ryan Williams was lost for the year with a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee.
Williams had impressed coaches in camp with his cut-back ability and willingness to work between the tackles. Now, they’ll need to put a huge load on Chris “Beanie” Wells, who hasn’t exactly been the poster boy for healthy, consistent play in his brief NFL tenure. Remember, former Arizona tailback Tim Hightower is now running as the lead man for the Shanahans in Washington.
Last season, Wells saw his production dive markedly. He’d averaged 4.5 yards per carry as a rookie in 2009 with seven touchdowns on 176 carries. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry in 2010 and scored twice.
LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith will vie for the backup role to Wells, though the team is likely to take a look-see at veteran options available on the wire (Clinton Portis is there now. Might Tashard Choice or Chester Taylor follow?).
For now, shift Wells up into the back end of the RB2 ranks. But, as always, make sure you’re protected by adding a third RB in short order.