During the 2013, despite a revolving carousal of running backs, Arizona Cardinals rusher Andre Ellington found himself on the sidelines more often than he or just about anybody (outside of the coaching staff) wanted.
Now the full fledged starting running back going into the 2014 season, Ellington’s workload is expected to increase – substantially.
While many expected Ellington to see more touches this season, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he expects Ellington to see upwards of 25-30 carries per game.
Keep in mind, the reason the Cardinals gave for Ellington’s lack of use last season was because they feared his small frame would potentially promote injury. Now just a year removed, they’re attempting to put him into relatively uncharted territory.
For reference sake, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles – who is a force both rushing and catching passes – only combined for 330 touches last season. Given the 25-30 per game, that would put Ellington on pace to touch the ball between 400 and 480 times. That’s a number not even reserved for the most talented, physical backs let alone a speedy, small-framed Ellington.
Ellington had 157 touches as a rookie and while that figure will understandably go up, hitting the figure that Arians suggests seems almost impossible.
Assuming he stays healthy, it’s reasonable to assume that Ellington could potentially get between 250-275 touches, possibly peaking at 300. But I don’t imagine Ellington will make it through the season if the Cardinals plan to work him hard enough where he’s pushing 400 to 500 touches.