The Arizona Cardinals have a very talented rookie running back in Andre Ellington, who showcased his talents in an amazing way in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons after taking advantage of a toe injury to Rashard Mendenhall, who has been the team’s starter this season. Ellington has clearly outproduced Mendenhall all year and is easily the more talented back, but the Cardinals have been reluctant to give Ellington the majority of the touches. Why? They are worried that Ellington won’t be able to hold up as a starter due to his size, and it’s a bit unnerving to see that the Cardinals aren’t even willing to give the more talented RB the touches. Ellington had over 150 rushing yards last week, with the most incredible part being that the vast majority of his yardage was gained on the ground.
Cardinals official site beat writer Darren Urban tweets that head coach Bruce Arians announced Mendenhall will get the start this week against the Houston Texans, as he is healthy after having the bye week to rest. Hopefully Mendenhall is only the Cardinals starter in name, because it would be a shame to see him receive more carries than a more talented back in Andre Ellington, who also brings a lot to the table in the passing game.
Just about the only two advantages that Mendenhall have on Ellington are size and age, and Mendenhall’s only value comes in short-yardage situations. But Ellington has also shown that he can generate high yards after contact as well, so it isn’t like he’s incompetent at grounding out yardage. At this point in time, Mendenhall needs to take a back seat to Ellington, and another rookie RB in Stanford product Stepfan Taylor also looks like a better back than Mendenhall.