The Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers kick off tonight's Week 3 preseason game at 7:00. A lot of attention will be focused on quarterback Kevin Kolb, who will make his home debut with the Cardinals and who figures to get a lot of snaps.
The player who could be a better barometer for the Cardinals' success this season, however, may be Beanie Wells. This will be the third-year running back's first game as an undisputed, featured back.
The Cardinals came out of the NFL lockout with three useable running backs on their roster: Tim Hightower, Ryan Williams and Wells. Tim Hightower has since been traded to the Washington Redskins, and rookie Ryan Williams- who flashed potential in training camp and at certain points of the Cardinals' first two preseason games- suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
Those two developments leave Wells as the unquestioned workhorse. He was very good in his rookie season (back in 2009), when he racked up 793 yards on a 4.5 yards-per-carry average and seven touchdowns. As a result, lots of people (especially fantasy football owners) expected big things out of Wells last year.
Wells didn't deliver, recording just 397 yards on a 3.4 yards-per-carry average and two touchdowns. Many believed that he would not see much action this season with his mediocore 2010 campaign and with the presences of Hightower and Williams.
Wells, on the other hand, will get a second chance to impress and take over the running game in Arizona. Let's see what he makes of it tonight against the Chargers.