Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith stays ready

Jun 11, 2012, 6:18 PM | Updated: 7:42 pm

Beanie Wells has yet to practice, while Ryan Williams has
yet to go through a full practice during three weeks of

The same script is expected to be followed this week when
the Cardinals hold their mandatory mini-camp with five
practices over three days.

With the team’s top two running backs still recovering
from knee injuries, the door has opened for 25-year-old
Alfonso Smith.

“I’m putting a lot of extra pressure on myself to really
be that guy in case those guys aren’t ready in the
preseason or at the beginning of the regular season,” said
Smith, an undrafted rookie free agent in 2010.

“This,” said head coach Ken Whisenhunt referring to
Smith’s increased repetitions, “will give him an
opportunity to compete with less reps in training camp
when Beanie and Ryan get back. And that’s what it’s all

Last year, Smith saw action in 15 of 16 games, mainly on
special teams.

But with Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling in and out of
the lineup (and Williams missing the entire season)
because of injuries, Smith found his number called in
almost half the games he played.

“Every week it was maybe I would be starting,” said Smith,
who had 30 carries for 102 yards a touchdown. “I never
really knew if I was going to play a lot or if I wasn’t
going to play at all.”

That uncertainty, Smith admitted, was tough, but not
unlike his time at Kentucky, where he made only nine
starts in 49 career games.

“It’s a little tough at times because you have to stay in
your playbook,” he said. “There are times when you’re
really thinking that you’re going to get in and you study
hard all week and then you don’t see any plays on the
field. It’s kind of hard to get over that.”

Whisenhunt has been pleased with what he’s seen out of
Smith. But like with all of his players this offseason,
he will reserve judgement until training camp.

“[Smith] does a good job hitting the holes, knowing the
offense, knowing where to go in his check-downs, but until
you get a chance to see him actually carry the ball, until
he has to step up and block a linebacker or make his play
in a protection, then that’s where you’re really going to
get a chance to judge him.”

Wells and Williams are both expected to be able to do more
when the team heads to Flagstaff in July, which will make
it that much more difficult for Smith to catch the
coaches’ attention.

“I’m not really worried about that,” said Smith. “I can
only control what I can control.

“I know it’s a physical league. I know one, two, three
running backs are probably going to see the field. Guys
are going to get dinged up. I don’t want to say it but
it’s going to happen. It’s football.

“There’s going to be a time when I’m going to be called
on. I just got to be ready.”

Arizona Cardinals

Zaven Collins during OTAs...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals LB Zaven Collins embracing life on the edge

Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins is getting more work on the outside than ever before since arriving to the desert in 2020.

20 hours ago

Colt McCoy...

Tyler Drake

Colt McCoy, Cardinals experiencing the ‘learning curve’ of new regime

Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy sees the value in organized team activity reps, especially working under a new OC and offensive scheme.

20 hours ago

Bobby Price #27 of the Detroit Lions celebrates the stop of a punt return during the second half ag...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals sign CBs Bobby Price, Dylan Mabin

The Arizona Cardinals added a pair of cornerbacks on Monday, announcing the signings of Bobby Price and Dylan Mabin. 

20 hours ago

Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Panthers, college football...

Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, 3 ASU players on 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Former Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald and three Arizona State Sun Devils are on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

20 hours ago

Dallas Goedert #88 of the Philadelphia Eagles jumps out of a tackle by Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Ar...

Alex Weiner

Cardinals OLB Dennis Gardeck working to improve pass rush technique this offseason

Cardinals edge rusher Dennis Gardeck said he is improving his technique with new OLBs coach Rob Rodriguez to become a more complete rusher.

2 days ago

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up prior to his game against the Philadelphia Eagles...

Tom Kuebel

Bleacher Report: Cardinals’ Kyler Murray is NFL’s most overrated QB

Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport ranks Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray as the most overrated player at his position in the NFL.

2 days ago

Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith stays ready