With Warner Gone, Cards' Could Run First

The Cardinals once high-flying offense could be a thing of the past. While Kurt Warner wanted to pass on every play, Ken Whisenhunt came to Arizona with a run first mentality. With an unproven quarterback now at the helms, Arizona could pick up another running back to give Matt Leinart one more back to hand off to. We talk with Lonyae Miller, a projected late-round pick, who wants to be that guy.

The Arizona Cardinals run offense went from dead last to 28th worst. While those are mere baby steps statistically speaking, the Cardinals saw much more production from their ground game due to the emergence of Beanie Wells and contributions from Tim Hightower.

This time next year, it should be expected that Arizona's ground game will improve 10-fold. Kurt Warner and Ken Whisenhunt butted heads in regards to pass or run first, but even Whisenhunt's power running game mentality couldn't argue against using his receiving weapons. What a difference a couple years make.

After a two-year hiatus, Matt Leinart prepares to be the Cardinals starting quarterback. Despite Leinart's arm strength, it's safe to assume Whisenhunt's play calling will be much more conservative, an approach that will have the Cardinals running the ball a lot more.

RB Lonyae Miller
Shana Siler/Scout.com
That's where former Fresno State running back Lonyae Miller could fit in. Miller, a projected late-round pick, went to work at last week's Senior Bowl. He led all rushers with nine carries for 44 yards.

The Cardinals give their late-round guys a chance (see: LaRod Stephens-Howling). Even so, Miller understands he has his work cut out for him. He looks to prove the critics wrong. Scouts are concerned about the level of competition he faced at Fresno State. They are also worried about his lack of reps at the college level. But Miller plans on making himself as versatile as possible to land a job. He helped return kicks at the Senior Bowl.

"Those are the jobs that -- on the next level -- are going to get you on the field or get you on the practice squad. I feel like if I work my tail off at those positions everything else will fall into place."

Miller believes he brings more to a team than just his work ethic.

"I'm a very powerful guy at 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds," Miller said. "I also contribute a good burst of speed and elusiveness. I'm a great pass blocker and I have amazing hands, so I plan on using those attributes to set me apart from the rest of the running backs in this draft class."

Michael Lombardo contributed to this report.

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