Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters last month at the NFL Scouting Combine that Arizona planned to “build our offense” around explosive running back Andre Ellington.
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Arians has dropped another bread crumb, suggesting this week that the second-year ball-carrier will get up to 10 touches per game as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
“He is still not a guy who you will pound up the middle 30 times a game and survive,” Arians said Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, per the Cardinals’ official website. “He can run the football 30 times a game if you do it correctly, but you’d rather have him have 10 catches and 20 carries and let Stepfan Taylor or (Jonathan) Dwyer have the rest of the carries.”
Ten catches a game would equal what Panthers coach Ron Rivera has projected from his entire receiving corps in Carolina.
The 5-foot-9 Ellington has tacked on 10 pounds during offseason work — tugging him closer to 210 — but his slight build puts him closer to the mold of Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles than a bruiser. Tied to that, Arians expressed caution over designing too much of the playbook around one man.
“You’ve got to watch that you don’t create too much stuff and then he sprains an ankle and you don’t have any offense because you put too much in one basket,” said the coach.
Ellington’s basket one season ago was filled with 118 rushes and 39 catches. With Rashard Mendenhall retiring and Ryan Williams on the roster bubble, everything we’re hearing from the Cardinals paints Ellington as a legitimate breakout candidate in fantasy circles.
The latest “Around The League Podcast” offers a full recap of the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, then proposes player moves that won’t happen (but probably should).