For some reason, the Arizona Cardinals insist on starting Rashard Mendenhall over Andre Ellington, effectively holding the latter, more talented back hostage behind the plodding Mendenhall. While there is a possibility that Ellington is merely a change-of-pace back who can’t hold up with a starting workload, the Cardinals need to at least give him a chance to prove himself as the starter. I mean, he’s shown up well enough to at least deserve an audition, as he has combined excellent pass-catching ability with an average of 6.4 yards per carry on 28 total rushes this season. 28? That number needs to go up.
Mendenhall is a powerful back, but that doesn’t mean he’s less susceptible to injury. In fact, he’s missed every practice session this week with a toe injury. His status is completely up in the air, and I would be surprised if he plays in this week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons despite having a long week of rest following last Thursday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cardinals still stubbornly won’t use Andre Ellington as their every-down back, and I am disappointed by the fact that the Cardinals are writing off Ellington’s chances of being an every-down back without even trying him in that role. He looks like the most talented running back on the roster and is a good bit better than Mendenhall. If Mendenhall is unable to play, then Ellington will have to share carries with Ryan Williams and Alfonso Smith, which is not appealing.