Ryan Williams not a lock for Cardinals final roster

Christian Petersen

The third-year running back could be on the outside looking in, unless he's able to return to the field soon.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is looking for someone to separate themselves in the team's competition for backup running back, but that's only led to Ryan Williams falling further behind the pack. Now it remains unclear whether the third-year back will make Arizona's final 53-man roster.

Arians chose his words carefully. He stopped short of criticizing Williams directly, but he made a point of removing him from the running back conversation. Something that wasn't lost on Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports:

Asked if he could tell who was better yet, Taylor or Ellington, Arians said no. "But they are separating themselves from the rest of the pack, in that they are playing extremely good, especially in pass protection. As is Alfonso. Alfonso is having a great camp. I think he's making a really big step as far as making our football team."

If those three have separated themselves from "the pack", then it's a pack of one: Williams.

The 2012 second round pick from Virginia Tech had a disastrous rookie year. He was injured in Game 5 of the regular season with a torn shoulder, and admitted to struggling with a prior knee injury before that. Williams managed just 164 yards on 54 carries before being placed on injured reserve, a poor 2.8 yards per carry.

The Cardinals will lean on Rashard Mendenhall to carry the load in 2013, as he's currently cemented as the team's starter. Mendenhall is nursing an injury of his own, but has enough confidence from the coaching staff that his situation is dissimilar to Williams'.

Unless Williams is able to recover from injury soon, and give the new Cardinals' coaches a chance to evaluate him, there's a chance he won't see a third season in Arizona.

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