Beanie off and running as 'the man' for Cardinals - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Beanie off and running as 'the man' for Cardinals

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Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:28 pm | Updated: 6:11 pm, Wed Sep 21, 2011.

(AP) — Beanie Wells is off and running as "the man" in the Arizona Cardinals' backfield, so much so that it's not a stretch to ask why he's not carrying it more.

The third-year pro from Ohio State has flirted with 100 yards rushing in each of his two games, gaining an average of 5.7 yards each of the 32 times he has carried the ball. Quarterback Kevin Kolb said after practice on Wednesday that it's time to push Wells over that 100-yard barrier on Sunday when Arizona plays at NFC West rival Seattle, a team playing its home opener after an 0-2 start on the road.

Wells shared the job with Tim Hightower for two seasons before getting the No. 1 job all to himself this year. The Cardinals traded Hightower to the Washington Redskins.

Wells said that while he's generally pleased with the results thus far, he can't help thinking about the few running plays that didn't work last Sunday, ones that may have made the difference in the 22-21 loss at Washington.

"You try to go back and review in your mind which ones you could have back a little bit," he said.

With 183 yards, Wells is nearly half way to his entire total from last season, when slowed by a knee injury he gained 397 yards on 116 carries. His two rushing touchdowns this year equal his entire total of a year ago.

"Beanie is running like a man possessed,'" wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "He's really looking good. He's finishing his runs. I started to see later in games guys are turning down tackling. They don't want to hit him late in the game because Beanie, at 225 (pounds), running that fast, he's punishing guys at the end of runs."

Before he came to Arizona this season, Kolb knew of Wells' power from watching him play at Ohio State.

"That's his reputation, but it's even more impressive in person," Kolb said, "and then he's got a burst, too. When he opens it up he's really fast. I don't think people realize that as well."

Wells has only one 100-yard game in his still-young NFL career, 110 against the Detroit Lions in his rookie season of 2009.

The 93 he got at Washington are his second-most, and his average of 6.6 per carry is a personal best in games where he had at least 10 carries.

Of his total, 87 came on 11 second-half carries, a whopping 7.9 average.

"I think he's turning more of the 1- and 2-yard runs into 5- and 6-yard runs, which is what I like," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He moves the pile."

The coach, of course, is accustomed to second-guessing, so he isn't surprised when fans wonder why Wells didn't get more than 15 carries against the Redskins.

"I get a lot of emails, a lot of letters, a lot of questions no matter what," Whisenhunt said. "When we do a New England on somebody and put up 600 yards of offense against somebody maybe we won't. But that's OK. I'm glad people care. Would we like to have gotten Beanie more carries? Well, when he's averaging these yards per carry, yes. There's other things that are going on that you have to take into consideration.

"I like the progress we're making as an offense."

Wells isn't about to be demanding more carries.

"The coaches know what they're doing. They're calling the right plays and doing things to get us in the right position to be successful. I'm sure they don't want to wear me out or anybody else out this early in the season."

But Wells loves carrying the ball. Just ask him and he'll flash that big Beanie Wells smile.

"No doubt," he said, "without a question."

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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