Head coach Bruce Arians hinted that he's comfortable with Williams serving as the top backup to David Johnson, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reports. "I think Kerwynn has proven every time he plays he gets 100 yards," Arians said. "Everybody says he's too small. He just gets 100 yards every time he steps out there."
With Chris Johnson still unsigned and Andre Ellington attempting a transition to wide receiver, the Cardinals look a bit thin behind three-down workhorse David Johnson. While the team may still add competition via the draft, it sounds as if Arians would be comfortable using Williams as the top backup. In addition to complimenting Williams' running ability, Arians mentioned that the 25-year-old has good hands and is a capable pass blocker. Williams was buried on the depth chart last season, but he's averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 98 career attempts. Asides from Williams, Johnson and Ellington, the only running back on the current roster is Elijhaa Penny, a 2016 undrafted rookie who failed to make the final roster last season.
Williams tallied 18 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns during the 2016 season.
Although he was active in each of the Cardinals' last 10 contests, Williams only received touches over the last four, during which he displayed plenty of explosiveness. Particularly noteworthy was a 49-yard TD dash in Week 15 sans one of his shoes, but he was able to ditch a change-of-pace role in the season finale after David Johnson suffered a nasty knee injury. Acting as the top RB over Andre Ellington for the final three quarters, Williams made sure the Rams respected the ground game with 12 rushes for 60 yards and his other score of the campaign. During his three-year stint in Arizona, Williams has surely impressed in his brief showings, averaging 5.6 YPC and reeling off four runs of 20-plus yards among his 98 carries. Both Ellington and Chris Johnson (groin) enter the offseason as unrestricted free agents, meaning general manager Steve Keim may opt for the cheap and younger option (Williams) as the primary backup to the All-Pro that is David Johnson.
Less than one week removed from an electric 49-yard dash to the end zone, Williams reverted to his non-existent role in the Cardinals' offense with David Johnson acting as a battering ram against the Seahawks. Williams was lucky to escape the game with a touch to his name, a six-yard catch at the tail end of the third quarter. However, outside of receiving 12 offensive snaps in Week 15, he's managed just eight in his other four opportunities on offense this season, ensuring his status as a persona non grata in fantasy.
Williams notched three carries for 63 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown run, during Sunday's loss to the Saints.
Digging deep into the playbook with postseason hopes hanging by a thread, head coach Bruce Arians used Williams on the second play from scrimmage, during which the running back fumbled on an aborted play due to offsides on the defense. Five plays later, though, Williams capped the drive with a lengthy dash to the end zone from midfield without one of his shoes. Later, on the Cardinals' first possession of the second half, he lined up in the wildcat formation, handing off to David Johnson for a five-yard gain. Although 12 (of 59) offensive snaps is indicative of his standing in a backfield dominated by Johnson, Williams was the primary running back in situations in which Johnson was lined up as a wide receiver, which could forecast his usage over the final two games of the campaign.
Williams (coach's decision) is inactive for Monday's contest versus the Jets.
Williams has shuttled between the free-agent market and the Cardinals' practice squad and 53-man roster in the current campaign, but his first game action since Week 17 of last season awaits. Head coach Bruce Arians will instead roll with Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor behind workhorse running back David Johnson.
|P3||8/26/17||@ ATL||7:00 pm|
|P4||8/31/17||@ DEN||9:00 pm|
|1||9/10/17||@ DET||1:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|5||10/8/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|7||10/22/17||@ LAR||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/5/17||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|11||11/19/17||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|