Now that Beanie Wells is back, presumably healthy (for now) and has re-established himself as the lead running back for the Arizona Cardinals, how much of a difference can he make for the Red Birds?
Probably not much.
Wells missed seven games with a turf toe injury and made a nice return last Sunday in Arizona's very disappointing 31-17 setback to NFC West rival St. Louis. He rushed for just 48 yards on 17 carries but scored a pair of touchdowns and showed a nice burst on his second score, a 12-yard sweep to paydirt.
We all know that the Ohio State product is not a shifty runner – he's a strong, bull-like between the tackles back that can never seem to stay healthy. Now in his fourth NFL campaign, Wells has already missed a dozen contests. He plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Still, despite all that negativity, there is a glimmer of hope moving forward.
The Cardinals, losers of seven straight, travel east to meet the hapless Jets this Sunday. Gang Green ranks third from last in the NFL in rushing defense – Rex Ryan's contingent is allowing 143 yards a game. The Jets are more susceptible to speed rushers around the edge than power backs that plow off tackle like Wells does but there is still cautious optimism that he'll have a solid game against the reeling Jets.
Arizona's offensive line appears to be making some small strides – their run blocking is improving and they only allowed two sacks last Sunday against the Rams – a miracle in itself – after allowing a whopping nine in their previous meeting.
The road, however, gets much rockier for Wells and company after the Jets game. The Red Birds will face three of the top defenses in the league over their last four games – Seattle, Chicago and the hated 49ers. A rough road indeed.
So, for now, while it's nice to have Wells back in the fold, his true value may not be determined this season at all.
Seven straight losses will do that to you.
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