The Cardinals haven’t had much use for Andre Ellington as a runner over the last two seasons and there aren’t any plans to cut down on David Johnson’s workload, so they have plans to use Ellington differently this season.
Ellington began sitting in on wide receiver meetings as last season wound down and the Cardinals plan to make that his primary position this season. Ellington said he’s picking up the nuances of the position, including not tipping his routes and knowing how to make adjustments based on what the defense is showing, and quarterback Carson Palmer is intrigued by the possibilities.
“Everything changes when he’s got to line up and there are 11 guys across the ball and he, post-snap, has to make decisions,” Palmer said on Tuesday, via the team’s website. “That’s difficult. But he runs really good routes, and the thing that really excites me is, once he gets the ball in his hands, what is he going to do with it? He’s not a receiver, he’s a running back when he has the ball in his hands.”
Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald caught 187 of the team’s 383 completions last season. A return to health and form for John Brown would likely cut into that number, but the Cardinals can’t put all of their eggs in that basket if they want to be fully prepared for the 2017 season. Ellington’s position change is part of those preparations and could be much more if he fares well when faced with a defense trying to stop him.