Head coach Bruce Arians confirmed as much Friday, but it's difficult to see Penny getting many offensive snaps, even with a committee approach likely in the absence of David Johnson. Instead, Kerwynn Williams will head the backfield, while Andre Ellington spells him and Chris Johnson picks up some of the scraps. No matter the breakdown of snaps for that trio, Penny was seemingly guaranteed some work by Arians in Week 2.
Penny could be used in short-yardage situations during David Johnson's (wrist) absence, Mike Jurecki of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports.
Johnson's dislocated left wrist is throwing a wrench into the Cardinals' offensive plans for at least the first half of the season. With a likely recovery timeline of 8-12 weeks, Johnson will make way for Kerwynn Williams as the No. 1 running back, but Andre Ellington and Penny himself are also expected to get in on the act. At 6-foot-2, 234 pounds, Penny is easily the bulkiest RB on the roster, and his preseason 2017 stat line -- 3.2 YPC and no runs greater than 20 yards -- would seem to back up usage when just a yard or two is needed for a first down or TD.
Penny had eight carries for 14 yards in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game against the Cowboys.
Penny appeared to be third on the depth chart at one point this offseason, but the Cardinals then drafted T.J. Logan, ended Andre Ellington experiment at wide receiver and re-signed Chris Johnson. As a result, Penny is no better than fifth in the current pecking order, making him a long shot to crack the 53-man roster. He didn't do himself any favors by averaging 1.8 yards per carry in Thursday's game.
Penny has dropped down to 235 pounds to this point in the offseason, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reports. "He learned what it's like to be an NFL player now," head coach Bruce Arians said last week. "We'll slim him down. He's got really light feet and great hands, if we can make him a little more shifty."
A member of the Cardinals' practice squad during the 2016 season, Penny was listed at 247 pounds, so a concerted effort to get in shape could benefit him in his quest to land a spot on the 53-man roster. Further helping his cause is Andre Ellington's move to wide receiver, leaving just Kerwynn Williams and Penny behind All-Pro running back David Johnson. Although Johnson is expected to receive the bulk of the touches out of the backfield in the upcoming campaign, both Williams and Penny will be in reserve in the event Johnson requires a brief breather.
Penny has signed a reserve/future contract with the Cardinals.
Penny made his mark during the preseason, riding a 113-yard, one-TD showing in the finale to final marks of 49 rushes for 195 yards. However, he was unable eke out a spot in a deep backfield populated by David Johnson, Chris Johnson (groin), Andre Ellington, and Stepfan Taylor. Aside from David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams, the latter trio will be unrestricted free agents once March arrives, forecasting vast changes to the RB depth chart. No matter how the Cardinals proceed in the coming months, Penny seems poised to make further inroads in the offseason program.
|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|