Regarded for his straightforward, transparent approach to coaching, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians minced no words when discussing running back Ryan Williams' outlook for the 2013 season on Monday.
"The handwriting's on the wall," Arians told Arizona Sports 620's Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta. "Either get out there and play, or you probably won't be here."
Since rupturing his right patella tendon in his rookie season, the 23-year-old Virginia Tech product has played in just five NFL games, also battling a shoulder injury last season.
"I've never seen a guy work so hard to get back to play football, look so good in shorts, and then can't play," Arians told Bickley with Marotta. "And it's a feeling that he has that his knee's not ready. So that's between he and the doctors."
Soreness is Williams' self-diagnosis, and it has been incapacitating enough to hold him out of almost all of the Cardinals' training camp activities.
But early last week, Williams guaranteed he would be ready to suit up for his team's preseason showdown with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"I know for a fact that I'll be playing in the Cowboys game, for a fact," he said. "I like to be a man of my word and I know that I'm playing the Cowboys game."
But on Wednesday, with Williams still held out from contact, Bickley and Marotta questioned whether the back would be ready for the game, which now stands just five days and three practices away.
Arians wonders, just the same.
"I'd like to see him practice before he gets in the Dallas game," said Arians. "That would be nice."
Despite the setbacks and tenderfootedness, Arians has no questions about Williams' drive or work ethic.
"I'm pulling for him," he said. "I like him. I think he's a great kid. He's a hard worker.
"And sometimes I think he's too conscientious."