Beanie's Role Continues to Expand in Arizona

While Tim Hightower remains a serviceable back for the Arizona Cardinals, Beanie Wells has positioned himself as the Cards' main rushing threat in the playoffs. Wells' workload continues to increase, evident by a career-high 17 carries for 110 yards against the Detroit Lions. Wells is already established as one of the top rookies in the NFL and could make a lasting impression in the postseason.

After a relatively slow start to his rookie campaign, Arizona Cardinals RB Beanie Wells is quickly gaining a head of steam. The former Ohio State standout's coming out party continued on Sunday as he torched the Detroit Lions' defense for his first 100-yard performance while racking up over 6 yards per carry. Furthermore, Wells reached paydirt for the second consecutive outing and has accumulated six scores entering the final two games of the season.

Despite Wells' recent hot streak, his success this year hasn't come without growing pains. Wells has struggled with ball security throughout the season fumbling four times. Although the Cardinals have lost possession on only two of those occasions, fumbling issues can offset a running backs talent on the field. Wells' partner in the backfield, Tim Hightower, has also failed to secure the ball coughing it up five times on the year.

Beanie Wells

Wells failed to surpass 50 yards rushing in his first five career games, but has now compiled 70-plus yards in five of his last seven contests. His 4.6 yards per carry ranks 16th in the NFL and Wells has also been effective catching the ball out of the backfield. He's hauled in 11 passes for 118 yards thus far and could develop into a major receiving threat in Arizona's already potent aerial attack.

With wideouts Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and a host of others in place, Wells could put the Cardinals over the hump for good. While QB Kurt Warner's future is uncertain past 2010, a new signal caller should step into a manageable situation with Wells and Arizona's talented wide receiving corps. Current backup Matt Leinart certainly will be in the mix but a newcomer could also be in the team's future plans.

As the playoffs approach, Wells' role in the Cardinals' offense continues to grow. After utilizing a first-round draft pick on Wells, Arizona's getting all it could ask out of the rookie during his initial season. Thanks to Hightower, Wells had the luxury of easing his way into the offense during the early portion of the year. Now with each game growing increasingly important, Wells contributions continue to expand.

Next up for Wells and Arizona is a home matchup against the lowly St. Louis Rams. The Rams have just one win and are surrendering over 140 yards per game on the ground. Wells currently sits second amongst rookies in the league with 706 yards rushing and that number should grow larger after Sunday's game against the Rams. Wells needs a strong finish to close the gap between Denver Broncos rookie Knowshon Moreno as both remain in the hunt for NFL Rookie of the Year honors.

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