For the second time this season, Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has spoken to the media about his frustration with his involvement in the offense and the offensive playcalling of Coach Ken Whisenhunt in general. He did it once before the game against the New Orleans Saints and again this week before the Cardinals' Monday Night Football game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Take a look at some of what he said in his radio interview on Monday:
"If I got [carries] on a consistent basis then the sky is the limit. I can be one of the elite backs in this league. I just want the football and I'm sure Tim [Hightower] does too. We want to run it collectively as a football team."
"The one thing that gets me and Tim and the other running backs in the room, you got guys around the league running the ball 30 and 35 times a game and you got us, it makes us look like we're uncapable running backs because we don't run the ball and we don't get the ball."
Beanie has a valid beef. With the retirement of Kurt Warner, the trade of Anquan Boldin, and the Pittsburgh Steeler background of Ken Whisenhunt, everyone believed that there would be a transformation from the passing attack that the Cardinals had employed in recent history to a ball control, run heavy offense.
It hasn't been that. The Cardinals have attempted less rushes than anyone in the NFL. They average just under 20 rushing attempts per game. They have 31 less rushing attempts than the next lowest team, the Dallas Cowboys (who have been criticized for their pass-happy approach). And it isn't like the passing attack has been so effective that it is the best option. The team ranks 28th in the league in passing yards per game (191.8).
Now, there are other factors to consider. The Cardinals have been playing from behind for much of the season, so that limits the amount of running a team will do. Wells has had knee issues. Hightower has fumbled at inopportune times. According to the coaching staff, Beanie still needs to improve at pass protection and picking up the blitz.
But fans across the state know that Whisenhunt is quick to abandon the run, and inexplicably calls passing plays on 2nd or 3rd down and a one or two. As a team, they average over four yards a carry.
Hightower has not had more than 13 carries in a game. Wells, on the other hand, has had as many as 20 an as little as one. It is obvious that there has been no commitment to the run.
It has been painfully clear that relying on Derek Anderson and the passing game has not been the successful way to go. Unless DA has some compromising photos of his coach somewhere, it would seem logical to try something else.
But then again, maybe Whisenhunt is not the coach he led us to believe. Maybe Bill Cowher reined him in with his philosophy or maybe Whisenhunt fell in love with the way things went while Warner was here.
Whatever the reason, the current plan has not worked and he has two backs who want the ball. It would make sense to give it to them, at least to not leave any room for doubt that his plan is the best option. If it works, keep it up. If they are ineffective, well, then we all know that there is no hope.
In a league that chews up and spits out running backs, when you have two young ones who want the ball and have the potential to be a great pair of runners, you have to use them because they won't be good forever.
Give Beanie the ball!
Listen to the full interview here.