Beanie Wells will start camp on PUP list, Ryan Williams won’t

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The first battle for snaps in the Cardinals backfield has been won by Ryan Williams by default.

Beanie Wells is going to start camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of his surgically repaired knee, giving Williams the first shot to impress Cardinals coaches. Williams missed all of 2011 with a torn patella tendon, but the 2011 second-round pick was thought to have a strong shot of unseating Wells before the injury.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt downplayed the decision, saying that it was an expected course of action for Wells. He also told the team’s website that Wells has looked good and that he’s making strong progress toward a return.

“We were going to be conservative in our approach with him anyway,” Whisenhunt said.

Optimistic notes should be taken with a grain of salt with Wells. His knee surgery was originally described as being just a scope to clean things out, but Wells later revealed it was more serious and wound up missing all offseason work after saying that he wouldn’t miss any of it. Throw in reports out of Arizona that Wells has some issues motivating himself and you’ve got a door open for Williams with the Cardinals, one that isn’t showing any signs of closing.