Halfway through the preseason, the Arizona Cardinals’ running game has yet to get off the ground — and with just 12 yards on four carries in two games, projected starting running back Andre Ellington hasn’t seen much action.
With the first-team offense expected to get more snaps in the Cards’ third preseason game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ellington is looking forward to handling the ball more and getting into a groove.
“I’m excited, man,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those real (regular season-type) games, the way we approach this one. But I’m just excited to get out there and play more than 10 plays for the first time.”
Arizona’s tailbacks have failed to impress this preseason, averaging just 2.2 yards per carry in their 32-0 preseason-opening win over the Houston Texans, and just 2.3 ypc in Saturday’s 30-28 loss at the Minnesota Vikings.
On Monday, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said the team’s running backs are “not showing the ability to have explosive runs” thus far.
Ellington, who averaged 5.5 ypc last season — the highest mark of any RB with at least 100 carries in 2013 — said he and the rest of the Cards’ tailbacks need to limit mental mistakes.
“There are some yards we left out there on the field,” he said. “Whether it’s the first group or the third group, we want to be great in that aspect. We want to rush the football, and that’s one thing we want to establish here: the run game.”
Ellington said it’s been an adjustment having limited snaps this preseason — a 180-degree shift from last year’s preseason load for the second-year pro out of Clemson — but he plans to make the most of his opportunities on Sunday.
“Once you get in a rhythm, you want to kind of stay out there, but it’s preseason,” he said. “Coach is being smart about the starters, so we’ve just got to be prepared when it’s our time to get out there and play.
“It’s a little weird because I came from playing a lot last year to not really playing much this year. But I’ve just got to be ready when I’m out there to do what I do.”