Cardinals backs off and running

Aug 12, 2011, 9:22 PM | Updated: 10:51 pm

Beanie Wells got the start in Thursday night’s preseason opener and, well, let’s just say he had a solid, if unspectacular night.

Wells tallied 22 yards on six carries, including a nice 15-yard run, but failed to score on four tries from the Raiders’ eight yard line.

But, as is typical of the preseason, stats don’t always tell the story of whether or not someone had a good night. Especially with regards to a back’s blocking.

“There were a couple times where I saw Beanie step up,” Whisenhunt said. “One of the areas that he really needed to improve on from last year was his pass protection.”

As great to hear as that is, a running back’s main job is to pick up yards on the ground. Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith did just that, picking up 90 yards on just 21 carries (4.2 YPC).

“They ran hard,” Whisenhunt said. “We still have a lot of things to work on as far as with the team and hitting the right holes.”

Establishing a running game may be as important for the offense’s development as anything else. If Wells and/or Williams can become reliable options things will open up more for Kevin Kolb and the passing game.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, as the Cardinals have had just one 1,000 yard rusher (Edgerrin James in 2007) during Whisenhunt’s four years in the desert.’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report

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Cardinals backs off and running