Through five games the Arizona Cardinals rank 30th in the NFL in total rushing yards (317) and last in yards per carry (2.7).
Yet, most feel the loss of Ryan Williams — which comes on top of the team already being without Beanie Wells — will be a crippling blow to the team’s running game.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Monday, said teams have to fight through adversity and keep going, and that they’ve done a good job of that in the early part of the season.
“Now we’ve got another challenge, but that’s OK,” he said. “We’ll work through it.”
William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling figure to get the bulk of the carries now, and both feel they’re up for the challenge.
“With me, I’m big on staying prepared no matter what,” Powell said when asked about how his mindset may have changed now that the team will need him to run the ball. “Of course your mind’s going to change somewhat because you know for a fact that you most likely will have to get some more time and action, but I always like to stay prepared no matter what.”
Powell said he worked as hard as possible every day in practice, making sure he’d be ready if and when his number was called. He led the NFL in rushing during the preseason with 249 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries, so he’s not exactly an unknown quantity.
In a way, the same can be said for Stephens-Howling, who is in his fourth NFL season — all with the Cardinals.
However, since being taken in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, Stephens-Howling has made a name for himself primarily as a kick returner and third down back who catches the ball, not as someone who runs between the tackles and gets multiple carries in a game.
He did get the start for the Cardinals in the 2011 season finale against Seattle, picking up 93 yards on 21 carries.
“I had a pretty good game, but I wasn’t satisfied,” Stephens-Howling said. “I should have got over 100 (yards) but hopefully I can get another one.”