Arians said on ESPN today that his vision for Ellington is less of a workhorse back and more of a player who can make plays all over the field as a runner and a receiver.
“I hate to compare players, but I think Andre’s role is more like Darren Sproles,” Arians said. “He’s a very unique player. Could he carry the load? Probably, 15-20 carries a game. But you want a lot of his touches to be out in space because he is so dynamic.”
The 5-foot-9, 199-pound Ellington is bigger than Sproles, but like Sproles he’s more of a big-play threat than a guy who consistently chews up yardage. In Sunday’s win over the Falcons, Ellington had 15 carries for 154 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, a 22-yard run and a 19-yard run. But he also got stuffed several times. That’s why, even though Rashard Mendenhall has been a disappointment so far in Arizona, Arians would like to see Mendenhall carry the load in the running game, and Ellington as a change of pace — the way Sproles is in New Orleans.