Powell next man in at RB for Cardinals

The Cardinals offense has been one-dimensional this year with Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams failing to produce results on the ground. Now, due to injuries, William Powell will get a chance to make an impact.


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Thanks to a lackluster rushing attack, the Cardinals offense has been one-dimensional this year. With the latest news of RB Ryan Williams being lost for the season things could soon go from bad to worse.

Williams, who will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, joins Beanie Wells on the sideline who was placed on IR and will remain there until at least Week 12. Given Wells' sketchy past with injuries, however, it would be no surprise to see him out longer – perhaps even for the rest of the year.

With both Williams and Wells out, the pickings are slim in the Arizona backfield. LaRod Stephens-Howling has been battling injuries of his own, but should be back on the field soon. Stephens-Howling, though, is not a great candidate to be an every-down back. Despite the injuries ahead of him, Stephens-Howling's talents can be maximized as a change of pace back and as a third-down specialist.

Alfonso Smith will also be in the mix at running back and has produced some positives in the past, but is more a bruising, between-the-tackles type of runner.

Another option is FB Anthony Sherman. Sherman is a versatile weapon who can both block and contribute as a receiver. Sherman will see more than his fair share of snaps but like Smith, he won't strike much fear into opposing defenses when it comes to breaking long runs or providing any home-run type of threat.

That leaves Arizona with a handful of remaining options. The first two – signing a free agent or making a trade – will be a difficult proposition at this point. Trading is not easy in the NFL – and is why trades during the season are infrequent occurrences. Furthermore, looking at the available free agents will produce a very underwhelming list of options.

With all of that said, the Cardinals best alternative will likely be William Powell. Powell is an unknown to many around the league but most in the desert would tell you he was more impressive than both Williams or Wells in the preseason. Powell has displayed some ability and while it hasn't been against top-notch competition, he does some provide hope at the running back position.

In the preseason, Powell carried the ball 42 times for 249 yards, good for a whopping 5.9 yards per carry. He demonstrated a knack for making big plays – racking up a long run of 67 yards – and managed to reach pay dirt on three occasions. On three opportunities to return kicks in the regular season, Powell has averaged 30 yards per return, including a long of 41 yards.

Powell isn't a familiar name around NFL circles right now, but that could change soon. Arizona will face a Buffalo defense that has been awful of late, allowing over 600 yards per game over the last two weeks. With QB Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals passing game making progress, expect Powell to find some open lanes on the ground against the Bills.

If Powell can get off to a good start against Buffalo and carry that momentum into the coming weeks, he could be on his way to seizing the opportunity as the next man in and solving Arizona's problems at running back.


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