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Arizona Cardinals coach: Running game a bright spot in Saturday’s loss

LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals head coach

For Bruce Arians, there wasn’t much to be happy about after his team’s 24-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers Saturday night.

Besides the loss, his Arizona Cardinals struggled with penalties, catching the football and injuries.

However, one positive to come from the team’s third preseason game was the running game, which accounted for 120 yards on just 18 carries.

Rashard Mendenhall led the way with 47 yards on six totes, but Alfonso Smith, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington all had some success, too.

“It was an excellent job of the blocking unit — including the wide receivers,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Monday. “They did a much better job blocking their guys, and then the longer runs started to show up.”

Arians added that he knows Mendenhall, who played for him in Pittsburgh, understands the team’s offense, but it was good to see the other backs make strides there, too.

“They’re starting to see when to bounce it, when to cut it back and where the creases are going to be and trusting it,” he said. “It was a much better performance, as far as our whole blocking unit.”

But besides just seeing the production, Arians noted it was good to see Williams back on the field and playing well. The third-year pro had missed most of training camp battling knee soreness, and seems to have a tenuous hold on a roster spot. In fact, it’s been reported that he is currently being shopped in hopes of a trade.

“I was really happy; Ryan looked like himself,” Arians said. “He hit it up in there good, and he’s going to start this week and try to catch him back up to speed.”

As for the trade talk?

“As I told the guys,” Arians mused, “the only thing we’re preparing him for is help him help me shop for my groceries.”