RealClearSports
Advertisement

Arizona Sportspage


August 24, 2009 7:50 AM

Stephens-Howling and Darren Sproles

The Arizona Cardinals believe rookie running back LaRod Stephens-Howling is the next J.J. Arrington.

"I look at him a lot like J.J. (Arrington) was for us last year. He was a game-changer and made a lot of big plays for us in critical situations," Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner told The Arizona Republic. "He's kind of a scat-back guy and LaRod can be that same guy who can give us a spark and make a big play every time he touches the ball. I think we'll see the same thing once we implement him into our offense a little bit more."

Well maybe.

For a moment, consider this player comparison.

How about being the next Darren Sproles?

Like the 5-6, 185 pound behemoth from San Diego, Stephens-Howlings, at least in his debut as a kick returner, is lightning in a bottle. In the Cardinals' 17-3 loss to the San Diego Chargers Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium the 5-7, 180-pound Stephens-Howling burst for returns of 89 and 63 yards. Every playoff team needs a game-changer, and enough is never really enough in the National Football League. Arizona's aerial attack featuring receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breston, are expected to make the Cardinals' offense one of the most explosive in the NFL. An explosive return game, featuring Stephens-Howling will give opposing teams another thing to worry about and give the Cardinals' offense good field position time after time again. Like Sproles, Stephens-Howling is surprisingly fast, confident and a hard-runner. He has good vision and a burst every good kick returner needs. The Cardinals can also use him in the passing game. With Beanie Wells' injury keeping him sidelined over the first two games of the preseason --and possibly more---the Cardinals may give Stephens-Howling a strong look in the backfield.

If seeing is believing and one game decides a career, there's little left to speculate. If this all serves to be true, Arizona has found its own mighty mouse. The Cards' own Darren Sproles.

A Member Of