Hightower To Start Over Wells?

The Cardinals, who finished second to last in yards per carry last season, have spent the offseason retooling their backfield.  (The Steelers finished 29th, another blow to people who insist “running wins championships.”)
They drafted Chris “Beanie” Wells in the first round, signed third-down option Jason Wright, and waved goodbye to Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington.
The forgotten man in the desert is Tim Hightower, but AZCardinals.com writer Darren Urban believes that Hightower will open the season as the starter over Wells.
This is surprising on a few levels.
Hightower was statistically the worst running back in the NFC last season, averaging an ugly 2.8 yards-per-carry.  (Or as Bengals fans call it, “The Chris Perry Zone.”)  He danced too much behind the line of scrimmage and barely got off the bench in the Super Bowl.
Urban cites the Cardinals’ cautious development of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a model for Wells.  He also points out that Wells missed OTAs because of Ohio State’s late graduation.
But Arizona drafted Wells in the first round to help solve their team’s biggest weakness.  It would be a disappointment if Hightower ends up starting for very long.

17 responses to “Hightower To Start Over Wells?

  1. I thought we’d all agreed there’s no such thing as a starting running back anymore. Or maybe Wells will replace Edge as “the guy who plays in important games and sits on the bench during the regular season”.

  2. Just remember that Adrian Peterson didn’t start in Minnesota, yet he recieved the bulk of the carries. So don’t be surprised if Wells is not the starter but still recieves the bulk of the carries.

  3. Good, I hope he drops on the fantasy rankings so I can snipe him. This guy is going to be a monster.

  4. Since James is no longer with the team by default Hightower is the starter. It will be his job to lose which will happen as soon as Wells earns it. Thats just the way Whis does things.

  5. Running backs usually start day 1 (especially high draft picks) because of how easy the transition to the NFL is.
    This should be mildly troubling.

  6. Try telling Joe Gibbs, Marcus Allen, The 85-86 Bears (Walter!), that running doesn’t win Super Bowls

  7. Whiz has the ideology that no job is handed to you but rather earned. Since Beanie missed all of the OTAs he is behind in taking the starting job. He might not get the starting job until a couple weeks into the regular season, but he sure as hell will be used often before getting the starting nod.

  8. of course Wells is a little behind because of the late day of Ohio’s graduation. So not sure how you could compare the little you have seen of Wells and Hightower.

  9. Hightower is a complimentary back who got his shot last year and didn’t do anything with it. The average per carry speaks for itself. They got Edge going in the playoffs last year due to a complete lack of faith that Hightower could be an 18-22 carry per game guy.
    Beanie Wells will be the starter. There isn’t one thing that Hightower can do better than this guy. They didn’t draft him in the 1st round to be a backup.

  10. It isn’t running that wins championships, it’s defense. And running allows your defense to breathe between series. Also, it isn’t total yards rushing that counts but how effective your running game is at sustaining drives.

  11. Enilson – I love the feedback, but the Steelers finished 23rd in rushing yards last year in the regular season and ninth in attempts. You may be combining their regular season and playoff totals.

  12. Haha. “The Chris Perry zone.” I’m a Bengals fan and truer words have never been spoken.
    I think Beanie will start over Hightower. If not week one, then by week four at the latest. Beans will have a solid rookie year.

  13. LOL! Excellent writing. Alper and Wilson could maybe learn from Greg?
    It’s a full-court shot, I know.

  14. a couple of points,
    First, Wells is already a better runner then hightower, but, in the Cardinals offense he is going to have do more then just a run the football, he is going to have to help protect Warner and catch the ball out of the back field. Pass receiveing and blocking are two things that he was not asked to do at Ohio State, it may take a while for him to develope those skills when he does he’ll be inserted in to the starting line up.
    Second, Whis has the reputation of making his players earn their starting jobs, no matter the round of the draft they were picked. If Wells takes his NFL oppritunity seriously, and stays healthy he’ll be productive and help the Cards, even if he doesn’t crack the starting line up. Once he developes into a complete back he will be the starter.

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