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Redskins @ Cardinals Week 6 Player Spotlight: Andre Ellington

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The Cardinals have QB issues and a sneaky productive RB to help ease the pain.

Doug Pensinger

Andre Ellington

Running Back

Age: 25

Form

Ellington is now the feature back in Arizona with the departures of other RB's over the past couple of years (Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling).  Thus far, he's handling it pretty mediocrely.  More was expected of him so far, but he's young, only in his second year, and it's only been four games for the Cardinals so far this year, so he could still have a very good year.  Last year in 15 games with only one start, as a rookie, he managed 653 rushing yards and three rushing TD's.  More importantly, he had a knock for breaking big runs and averaged 5.5 ypc.  Ellington is a smallish RB with very good speed.  He can take one to the house.  Thanks to that ability, he's also involved in the passing game and caught 39 balls last year for 371 yards and another TD.

So far this year, Ellington's been a little up and down.  He's started all four games for the Cardinals and has 238 rushing yards, one rushing TD, 162 receiving yards, and one receiving TD.  An important stat to note is that his ypc is down to 3.8 this year.  Perhaps defenses have adjusted?  Last week in Denver, Ellington had a rough go of it running the ball only averaging 2 ypc and managing a measly 32 yards on 16 carries.  He did break off a nice 81 yard TD reception, though.

Skills

Ellington's only 5'9" and 210 lbs., but he has good speed.  He ran a 4.61 40 at the combine which was shockingly slow for the way he plays and looks on the football field.  His last year at Clemson saw him break off 20+ yard runs on many occasions.  His slowish 40 time caused him to slide in the draft, but needless to say to anyone who's seen him play, he's very fast on the football field.  He's a good receiver out of the backfield and has a nice ability to break runs to the outside.  He seems to look to break off the HR play more than consistently churning out 4 yards every touch.  He's dangerous in space and has a great ability to make defenders miss one-on-one.  The Redskins will need to gang tackle very well and play disciplined contain outside the pocket to force him to run between the tackles.  If he gets up to speed on the outside, he's very hard to bring down.  Expect a heavy dose if Logan Thomas is at the helm.

Potential Against the Redskins

The Redskins run defense has been pretty decent this year and I expect they'll key on Ellington and force either the young, inexperience Thomas or one of the other banged up QB's to beat them through the air.  Kerrakpo will need to make sure he doesn't break any HR runs out to the outside and beyond that it'll be up to Keenan Robinson and whoever's playing Safety to keep an eye on him.  It is a little troubling that we don't have more speed on the backend of our defense and if Ellington gets there, he could take advantage.  I just don't see how they can overlook Ellington knowing he has to be a large part of the Cardinals offensive game-plan with the question marks at QB.

The status of Perry Riley and Ryan Clark is a bit concerning specifically because of what Ellington can do.  For all his deficiencies in coverage, Riley usually plays the run very well.  Will Compton is good there too, but he's unlikely to be an upgrade from Riley.  Also, our Safety spot is already thin/bad enough and losing Clark would be detrimental if Ellington gets free.  Here's to hoping good Meriweather comes to play.  I expect a lot of pressure on the QB in this game and am hoping we don't see some damaging screens or dump-offs to Ellington in the flat because he has the potential to take those good plays and make them great.

Interesting Facts

Andre's cousins is the 49er WR Bruce Ellington.  Andre was born and raised in Moncks Corner, SC before attending Clemson (with Jarvis Jenkins).  In HS, in addition to playing football, he was a track star.