The Cardinals running game, which was solid during the preseason, has hit some hard times during the regular season.
From an output perspective, the Cardinals running game just isn’t putting out.
The Cardinals are averaging 63.4 yards rushing per game. That seats Arizona 31st out of 32 teams in rushing yards per game.
To go along with those numbers, Arizona’s dead last in the league in yards per rush at 2.7.
Beanie Wells is out for at least another month or so with a turf toe injury, and Ryan Williams is gone for the season with a shoulder injury.
Who’s left to man the backfield?
The Cardinals have LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith ready to go against Buffalo on Sunday.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has seen Powell work his way up the ranks and onto the Cardinals roster.
“When you look at guys who’ve come a long way to make a team, he did that,” Whisenhunt said, making special note of Powell’s ability to block, run routes and his productivity during the preseason.
Powell says he’s not quite sure what his role will be on Sunday, but he’s willing to do whatever to try and jump start the running attack.
“I gotta make sure I’m on my ‘A’ game, make sure I know who I have on my blocking scheme and make sure I’m being myself and not being a robot,” Powell said.
Powell is aware that this game is a big opportunity for him to showcase his skills, but he knows he needs to stay within himself and not get caught up in the hype of it all.
“You wanna still produce at the level that you know you can,” Powell said.
Smith, who had a solid preseason, was let go by the Cardinals during the last round of cuts on August 31, and was eventually brought back shortly after Wells suffered his injury.
Smith says he’s learned some things during his time with the Cardinals that will help him improve his game moving forward with the team.
“I’ve just learned to slow everything down,” Smith said. “It’s nothing different out there, it’s just like the preseason, guys are gonna hit you hard, you just gotta run, you gotta read your holes.”
Smith says its easy to fall into the trap of trying to do too much at one time instead of letting plays develop, then making something happen.
“You have to have some kind of self-control,” Smith said. “You gotta know what the defense is giving you, and when you know that, you might be able to bounce it outside because you know a corner is too far in or something.”