Cardinals running backs won’t be catching many passes

AP

The headline to this post sounds like the setup to a punchline.

“And neither will anyone else given the quarterbacks in Arizona.” Ba-dum-dum.

That’s an unintended benefit, however. It really has to do with the offensive philosophies of new head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was asked about what role the team’s running backs would play in the passing game and said it was going to be a minimal one outside of blocking long enough to give the team a chance to make plays to the wideouts.

“They are back there because they are runners and pass protectors,” Arians said, via the team’s website. “Will we throw to the backs? Yeah. But the receivers are the ones paid to catch it. (Running backs) are helping but it’s doubtful our running back leads the team in receiving.”

That’s pretty much par for the course in an Arians offense. Colts running backs had just 34 catches as a group last season and, outside of a couple of years with Mewelde Moore having 40+ receptions, Arians’ Steelers teams didn’t throw much to backs either.

Arizona has Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells on the roster with LaRod Stephens-Howling set to become a free agent next month. Stephens-Howling would seem to be the one hurt the most by Arians’ dislike of throwing to backs, but he handled himself well as a starter last season and his special teams contributions may still make him a player that the Cardinals want to keep.