It is no secret that the Arizona Cardinals offense has not had a good preseason. Whether it is bashing the offensive line play or the quarterback play, the results have not been good. There is, though, an unmentioned factor in the struggles. That would be the absence of a starting running back.
With both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams out for the first two preseason games, the offense has been leaning upon LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith to balance out the offense.
The result has not been great. While Smith has not been bad by any means, he does not scare defense or make them worry.
Essentially, as the Cardinals have looked in the past, the offense then takes on a one-dimensional look, which allows defenses to prepare for the pass.
With the pass being expected, cue the problems of both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.
Now with the Raiders coming up, it looks like Ryan Williams will get a few snaps and Beanie Wells has a chance. With the strength and punishing force of Beanie, or the shifty elusiveness of Williams, defenses will be more on their toes. That alone could be enough to actually allow the quarterbacks the chance to look better and perhaps (gasp) step up and separate himself from the other.
Is this the main reason for the struggles? No. But it certainly has been a factor. Unless you are one of the top four or five quarterbacks in the league, you need a back behind you keep defenses honest.
Since neither Kolb nor Skelton is that, bring on the running backs. The team is going to need them.
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