Mendenhall is slated to be Arizona's lead running back this season but did not practice yesterday. That's fine though with head coach Bruce Arians. The University of Illinois product was wearing a brace on his knee while on the sideline yesterday but Arians did not seem concerned.
Despite some lingering issues with his knee, Mendenhall enjoyed a solid preseason with the Red Birds. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry in 13 preseason rushes while the rest of his running mates averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.
Despite the loss of first round pick Jonathan Cooper for the season with a broken leg, Arizona's offensive line is expected to be improved this season. The return of Levi Brown certainly helps as does the signing of veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston. Let's face it – the Red Birds should not allow a league-high 58 sacks again, as they did in 2012. How much better will they be? We'll find out soon enough on Sunday against an aggressive Rams defensive unit.
Mendenhall will get help from Ryan Williams and company in the backfield but for now he is the leading man in Arians' rushing attack. The number one back.
We'll see if he is up to the task.
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