This weekend, teams were required to cut their rosters down to the regular season required 53 men, and the Cards wasted no time in snapping up veteran running back Chester Taylor from the Chicago Bears scrap heap. The addition of a smart player like Taylor should yield positive results, especially after the season ending injury to rookie Ryan Williams.
Taylor is entering his 10th NFL season and has mostly played in a reserve role, whether it was with the Ravens (to whom he was drafted), Vikings, or Bears. He has showed he is capable of being the feature back, rushing for over 1,000 yards for Minnesota during the 2006 campaign.
Taylor has always had the ability to catch passes and convert on third down, and this will likely continue to be his role in the desert. He is not the type of drastic change of pace that LaRod Stephens-Howling is form starter Beanie Wells, but adds that pass catching element that Wells has not been known for.
Since coming into the league in 2009, Wells has caught only 17 passes for 217 yards and no scores. Over his career, Taylor has averaged 31 receptions and 248 yards with just less than one touchdown a year. Those are the type of numbers Coach Whisenhunt would love to have on his side. Those catches and short 3rd down conversions are just what the Cardinals offense needs to keep drives alive, and essentially keep the ball in Kevin Kolb’s hands.
Now don’t expect Taylor to have that sort of impact just yet, especially while he learns the playbook and gets accustomed to the Cards style of play, but he may play more than usual, especially if another back gets injured. He will be the most experienced player at the position, and may have to step in and perform in a featured role if someone goes down.
The Cardinals have added another versatile piece to an offense that features weapons at virtually every position, all they have to do now is put the puzzle together, so to speak, and win football games.