For as much credit as Bruce Arians received a year ago for the job he did with the Indianapolis Colts replacing Chuck Pagano, he’s been as stubborn as a mule in his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals.
I say that as a complete generalization, because Arians believes that getting his top playmaker (not named Fitzgerald) 13 touches in a game is “plenty.”
At least, that’s what he said in regards to Andre Ellington getting the ball a baker’s dozen times, even though Ellington is clearly the team’s hottest player and clearly their best back. Kent Somers, who covers the Cardinals for the Arizona Republic, called out Arians for his sketchy offensive personnel decisions.
“To continue to divide the workload equally between Ellington and Mendenhall is stubborn at best and foolish at worst,” he wrote.
Ellington is averaging 7.2 yards per carry and 9.0 yards per catch this season, so it’s easy to wonder why the Cardinals refuse to make Rashard Mendenhall strictly the goal line back or something like that, because he’s not doing much of anything right now. He’s averaging just a hair over three yards per carry, and has merely 11 catches all season.
Yet the Cardinals want to continually feed him the ball. Mendenhall has 105 carries this year while Ellington has just 54.
It’s simply astounding that Bruce Arians hasn’t caught on to this yet. His opinion is the only one that matters, and he’s keeping his best player (again, non-Fitzgerald) off the field. It’s astounding, really.
Perhaps all the negative public opinion will help Arians go back to the film room and take a closer look. It was easy to see even dating back to his days at Clemson that Ellington has some Chris Johnson to his game. Ellington was rewarded from his 154 yard performance against Atlanta with 11 carries against the Texans.
Bruce Arians better figure it out quick. Do you think he knows the Cardinals are actually 5-4 this season, contending for a Wild Card spot? If he does, you could have fooled me.