Williams rushed nine times for 22 yards while failing to draw a target in the passing game during Sunday's 16-13 overtime win over the Colts. Williams got only two fewer carries than Chris Johnson, but Johnson gained 22 more yards. While the 2013 seventh-rounder got the start, his ineffectiveness forced coach Bruce Arians to look elsewhere. There are still carries to be had in this backfield sans David Johnson (wrist), but Williams won't get many unless he shows improvement moving forward.
Head coach Bruce Arians labeled Kerwynn Williams as the Cardinals' starting running back for Sunday's contest in Indianapolis, Mike Jurecki of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports. Arians has already described Williams as the "featured back" with David Johnson (wrist) out of commission, but the vote of confidence is perhaps more solid now after the Cardinals added Chris Johnson and D.J. Foster to the 53-man roster Tuesday. Moving forward, the pecking order will be Williams, then Andre Ellington, so the duo may form a traditional 1-2 punch. For his career, Williams has reeled off 5.4 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns across 103 totes.
Head coach Bruce Arians said Monday that Williams will serve as the No. 1 running back during David Johnson's (wrist) upcoming absence, Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic reports. Pending a second opinion on his dislocated left wrist, Johnson is tending to the same injury as rookie RB T.J. Logan, which was accompanied by an 8-12 week recovery timeline after surgery. If the preceding comes to pass, Williams is slated for a significant bump in relevance and should be able to uphold his end of the bargain. During brief stints with the Cardinals the past three campaigns, Williams averaged 5.6 YPC and scored four touchdowns on 98 rushes. Because he cannot mimic Johnson as a pass catcher, Andre Ellington will likely be the preferred option on third down and obvious passing situations.
Williams is listed as David Johnson's direct backup on the Cardinals' first depth chart of the season, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. Additionally, Williams is No. 1 for both kick and punt returns. In varying stints the past three seasons for the Cardinals, Williams has averaged 5.6 YPC, but the presence of Johnson won't provide many opportunities on offense in 2017. Williams will thus try his hand as a returner after rookie T.J. Logan dislocated his wrist in the Hall of Fame Game. While his few dalliances with punts this preseason didn't reveal much -- two returns for 13 yards and a fair catch -- he ripped off 35- and 31-yard returns on his two chances during kickoffs.
Williams has racked up seven carries for 25 yards and a touchdown through the Cardinals' first three preseason contests. The Cardinals more or less know what they have in David Johnson, Chris Johnson and Williams, so coach Bruce Arians turned over the backfield to Andre Ellington (26 offensive snaps) and Elijhaa Penny (24) during Saturday's exhibition against the Bears. Williams was thus afforded just four snaps on special teams, where he's fighting for both return jobs. So far, he's notched one 35-yard kick return and fielded two punts for a combined 13 yards. Due to a career mark of 17.1 yards per kick return and no punt returns on the ledger, he appears to be a better bet to land the former gig.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/01||San Francisco 49ers||27||22.00|
|6||10/15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||7.00|
|7||10/22||@Los Angeles Rams||30||27.00|
|9||11/05||@San Francisco 49ers||27||22.00|
|13||12/03||Los Angeles Rams||30||27.00|
|16||12/24||New York Giants||11||13.00|
|3 Year Avg||33||182||1||2||11||0||25|