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Cardinals Welcome Beanie Back

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Notebook: Wells ready to carry the ball after IR stint; Kolb, Campbell limited

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald (left) and the rest of the Cardinals are happy to have running back Beanie Wells (right) back and available when the team plays against the Rams Sunday.

The sitting was the worst for Beanie Wells.

“I don’t ever remember sitting out more than two in a row, once in college,” said the running back, who was officially brought back off of the injured reserve list Wednesday to return to the active roster two months after tearing a ligament in his toe.

“(This) is a feeling I never want to experience again,” Wells said. “You get that taste of having something taken away from you that you cherish. You take those things for granted. I don’t want to take it for granted, and I don’t want to be back in that position, either.”

The Cardinals could use Wells back on the field. They need his bulk in a running game that has lacked size in the backfield, and they could use his help now that rookie sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley has been named the starting quarterback.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt downplayed Wells’ return, cautioning that so much time away will make an impact. LaRod Stephens-Howling is coming off a 127-yard rushing effort, and William Powell has proven he can contribute as well.

“There’s going to be a little bit of a curve with (Beanie) adjusting to the game,” Whisenhunt said. “We’ll be able to put Beanie in there and get him some carries. It’s always good to have a good player back. We’ll just see how he handles it.”

Wells struggled when he played earlier in the season. The knee that he hurt last season – playing with the injury most of the year – didn’t respond as quickly to surgery as he or the team would have liked. He clearly was hampered as the year began, and he had just 76 yards on 29 carries before hurting his toe in the third game of the season.

The knee is fine now, Wells said. It wasn’t then.

“I was far (from being healthy),” Wells said. “So far away. So this time off was a blessing in disguise.”

The Cardinals have been struggling to throw the ball. Introducing Wells into the mix might be a fix, but as center Lyle Sendlein noted, defenses will know to stack the box if needed.

But, Sendlein said, “you always want to hang your hat on something. It’s always nice to have success at something.”

Wells certainly has had success against the Rams. He missed the teams’ meeting earlier this season in St. Louis, but the last time Beanie was in the lineup against them last season, he piled up a franchise-record 228 yards rushing. And that was playing on a gimpy knee.

“Obviously, I have respect for him as a runner,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said. “If we didn’t before that last game last year, we do now. That guy runs hard, he’s tough. He’s athletic. He’s a smart runner. He exposed us on that day. We were playing bad defense but he exposed us. We played bad defense last year against some other guys and they didn’t do what he did to us that day.

“He’s going to be a factor coming back and we got to prepare for him.”

How much Wells plays is up in the air. Whisenhunt was non-committal and Wells wouldn’t go there either, saying he just wants the Cardinals to break their losing streak and for him to be a part of it. If the Cards want him to play a heavy role, however, he said he is ready regardless of his time away.

“I’ve been playing football since I was 6 years old,” Wells said. “I don’t think I’ll forget how to play it at all.”

KOLB, CAMPBELL LIMITED; HEAP PRACTICES FULL

Quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) and defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) were among 10 limited players in practice Wednesday for the Cardinals, who for the first time in a while did not have any players sit out.

Joining Kolb and Campbell as limited were safety Justin Bethel (shoulder), guard Daryn Colledge (foot), receiver Early Doucet (ribs), cornerback William Gay (groin), running back William Powell (shoulder), safety Kerry Rhodes (back), running back Alfonso Smith (illness) and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (ribs).

Also, tight end Todd Heap (knee) practiced full for the first time since hurting his knee in New England the second game of the season. Heap has not played since.

For the Rams, receiver Danny Amendola (foot), linebacker Mario Haggan (elbow), running back Steven Jackson (foot) and tight end Lance Kendricks (knee) all sat out. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson’s absence was merely to let him rest.

THE FIRST TIME IN ST LOUIS

The Cardinals’ current losing streak began with the 17-3 loss in St. Louis on a Thursday night, an odd game in which the Rams did very little offensively but struck with two big plays – a 44-yard pass to Danny Amendola to set up the first touchdown and a 51-yard touchdown bomb to Chris Givens.

The memory leaves linebacker Daryl Washington just shaking his head, especially after Rams quarterback Sam Bradford completed just 7-of-21 passes.

“We probably just came out, with the four-game winning streak, and underestimated them a little bit maybe,” Washington said. “That’s the kind of game where you think, ‘I could have done this’ or ‘I could have done that.’ This game, we have to have a different mindset.”


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