Cardinals approach season with new mindset

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

No Kurt Warner, no Anquan Boldin ... no point in focusing on a passing game right?

That seems to be the logic both Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells are using when they suggest their days of being the second and third options behind the yards-through-the-air philosophy that has dominated the Cardinals mindset the past few years are over.

And even with Larry Fitzgerald still in the fold, not to mention an underrated Steve Breaston, it makes too much sense to argue against a run-dominant Cardinals offence this year.

Neither Matt Leinart nor newcomer Derek Anderson have shown much to suggest otherwise.

A pass-heavy offence makes even less sense when you take into account the arrival of Alan Faneca, a run-blocking one-man gang who the Cardinals picked up on the cheap from the New York Jets.

The question though is going to be which of these two backs becomes the featured back.

Wells, coming into his second year, would already appear to have the edge in that department.

While the limited carries last season were mostly evenly divided between the two, Wells did get the majority by a slim margin. Hightower’s eight rushing touchdowns were one more than Wells.

Wells, though, is the player the Cardinals have the most invested in having used a first-round pick in the 2009 draft to get him. Hightower was selected the year before fifth overall. And all indications point to Wells slowly but surely taking over.

In the final four games of the regular season, (not including the final game with nothing on the line and both the Cards and Packers refusing to tip their hand with a playoff date the following week) Wells carried the ball a total of 62 times to Hightower’s 24. He outgained Hightower 285 yards to 89.

In the two playoff games with Warner airing it out at will, Hightower carried the mail 13 times to Wells’ 19 carries, although a 70-yard TD romp by Hightower in the divisional final gave him a 106-98 edge in yards gained.

Hightower is without question the better pass-catcher out of the backfield so there’s always going to be work for him, but expect to see a whole lot of Beanie Wells this year as the Ohio State product tries to make the 30 teams that passed on him in the draft regret that decision.

Mentor with a memory

Always liked tight end Alge Crumpler. He’s tough, passionate about the game of football and always seemed to come up big for the Falcons when they needed him most. Now we have another reason.

Crumpler, who spent last season with the Titans before moving on to play with Tom Brady in New England this season is apparently still offering his Tennessee understudy Jared Cook advice.

According to the Tennessean, Crumpler recently texted Cook telling him to find game film of former Falcons undersized tight end Reggie Kelly who Crumpler believed compared in size to Cook and could provide Cook with some blocking tips.

Fourth and inches

The Baltimore Ravens are bringing in Shayne Graham, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals to compete for their place-kicking job. Graham got bounced from Cincy when he missed chip shots of 28 and 35 yards in their playoff loss to the New York Jets. This despite making

23 of 28 for the season and owning the fourth-best field goal success rate in NFL history. He’ll battle Billy Cundiff for the job ... It won’t have any impact on his attempt to nail down the No. 2 receiver spot in Miami behind Brandon Marshall, but Davone Bess earned some karma points on his way to practice Tuesday. Bess was in the middle of a live radio interview while he drove to OTAs when he cut the host off saying he would have to call him back because he needed to call 911. Turns out a driver in front of Bess flipped his vehicle and Bess was sure he was in need of medical aid. The driver walked away from the crash and Bess phoned the radio station back to finish the interview ... If it matters to you, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took part in Steelers OTAs on Tuesday.


Videos

Photos