Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) rushes for a gain against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 32-20. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Rashard Mendenhall not at practice, Andre Ellington time?

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.

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Tags: Andre Ellington Arizona Cardinals Injury Report Rashard Mendenhall

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