BLOG: Can the Cards win without Andre Ellington?

Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 21:05:14-04

After limping through the 2014 season, Arizona Cardinals starting running back Andre Ellington is hurt once again and is likely to be out for the Cards' next game at the Chicago Bears.

Ellington was having himself a productive game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints but left early in the fourth quarter with a knee injury that was later diagnosed as a mild PCL sprain.

But unlike last season, the Cards appear to have enough firepower at the running back position to overcome the loss of Ellington for a game or more.

Last season, when Ellington missed the final month of the season due to injury, the Cardinals attempted to replace him with 2013 fifth-round pick Stepfan Taylor, former ASU standout Marion Grice and 2013 seventh-round pick Kerwynn Williams -- a combination that achieved limited success.

This year, the Cards are armed with a pair of newcomers: 2015 third-round pick David Johnson, and veteran Chris Johnson, the 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year who was signed during preseason.

The Johnsons followed up their productive preseasons with encouraging performances against the Saints. David Johnson's 55-yard reception in the final minutes capped Arizona's victory, while Chris Johnson reeled off 37 yards on 10 carries, including a 12-yard run during a fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

"We wanted depth at that (position). We have it," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians accurately noted Monday.

Arians said Chris Johnson will start at running back if Ellington is unable to play, but David Johnson will be in the mix -- and Arians is known for sticking with the hot hand during any given game.

"It'll always be a 1-2 punch ... It doesn't matter to me who's getting the carries," he said.

Unlike last season, the Cardinals were wise to prepare themselves this year for the likely -- and perhaps inevitable -- eventuality of an Ellington injury.

With the duo of Johnson and Johnson, the Cards should be in good hands.