The Arizona Cardinals will have a new starting running back when they face the Chicago Bears today at 1 p.m. (ET) at Soldier Field, as Andre Ellington is out with a knee injury.
Ellington injured his knee in the Cards 31-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. The 26-year old is expected to miss one to three games after suffering the PCL sprain. He racked up 69 yards on 12 carries (5.8 ypc) and one touchdown against the Saints. Ellington also lost one fumble.
As a result of Ellington’s injury, the Cardinals promoted running back Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad and cut TE Joseph Fauria on Saturday, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.
Williams appeared in five games games for Arizona last year, rushing for 246 yards on 53 carries (4.6 ypc). The former seventh round pick of the Indianapolis Colts also had two receptions for six yards last year. In his best game last season, Williams reached the 100-yard plateau on 19 carries against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14.
It is unknown exactly what Williams’ role will be against the Bears, as the Cardinals already had three healthy running backs before calling up the 24-year old. He does have experience as a kick returner, totaling 28 yards on one return while with the Colts in 2013. He was released by the Cardinals on September 5, and re-signed to the practice squad the following day, per Arizona Central.
In order to make room for Williams, the Cards cut TE Joseph Fauria. Fauria was signed by the team in September after Arizona placed Ifeanyi Momah on injured reserve. Fauria, who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2013, scored seven touchdowns in 16 games as rookie with the Detroit Lions. He appeared in seven games last season with the Lions before having his season cut short due to an ankle injury.
Veteran Chris Johnson is expected to start at running back for Arizona, which rolled up 120 yards on the ground against the Saints. Weinfuss believes the 29-year-old should be close to an every-down back for the Cards until Ellington returns.
Johnson ran for 37 yards on 10 carries versus New Orleans, including 34 on seven attempts in the fourth quarter. He did not catch a pass in week.
Rookie David Johnson, the Cards’ third round pick out of Northern Illinois, and third-year pro Stepfan Taylor, also could see action. David Johnson didn’t receive a carry in Week 1, but did turn his only touch into a 55-yard touchdown reception. Taylor didn’t play in Week 1, but ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries last year.
In other news, guard Mike Iupati may return to the lineup next week. Iupati, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the team in March, injured his meniscus on August 18. Also, head coach Bruce Arians said that safeties Deone Bucannon (groin) and Tony Jefferson (hamstring) will be game-time decisions after both were limited in practice Friday.
Bucannon registered seven tackles, with six being of the solo variety, in Week 1, while Jefferson made five tackles including four solos.
[Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images]