Arizona Cardinals coach Arians: 'We've been too easy' on Rashard Mendenhall
His performance Sunday in Tampa was not helpful.
Sure, the Cardinals earned a 13-10 win, but Mendenhall gained just 21 yards on 12 carries and fumbled twice, losing one.
He also nearly cost the team by running out of bounds on a carry with less than two minutes remaining when the Cardinals were attempting to kill some clock before kicking a go-ahead field goal. His saving grace on the play? Fumble number two, which bounced out of bounds and allowed the clock to keep ticking. That play, more than anything else Sunday, earned the ire of head coach Bruce Arians.
"Rashard had a very tough day," Arians said after the game. "He can't play that way.
"He can't run out of bounds; he's a veteran. To run out of bounds at the end of the game was ridiculous -- that was the worst mistake he made all day."
Arians said the fumbling is rarely an issue for the former first-round pick, and his track record would seem to bare that out. Prior to this season, Mendenhall had put the ball on the ground nine times in five seasons, a span which included 864 rushing attempts and 77 receptions.
However, mistakes like the ones Mendenhall made will not be tolerated.
"We need to practice him a little bit harder," the coach said. "I think we've been too easy in practice on him because of his injuries, and we need to hone him up more because he's not game-ready."
Mendenhall battled a knee injury during training camp and has dealt with both a hamstring issue and toe issue in the season's early weeks.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Rashard Mendenhall to retire, teams told
- Daryn Colledge tweets of his release from Cardinals
- Fox Sports NFL insider: 'Player's coach' Arians makes Arizona Cardinals a prime destination
- ESPN writer: John Carlson signing risky for Cardinals, but worth the reward
- Darnell Dockett tweets that Branden Albert is 'new teammate'
- Kent Somers, AZ Central Sports Cardinals beat writer - Thursday March 6Kent Somers discusses the Cardinals' efforts to sign Karlos Dansby.
- Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com NFL writer - Thursday March 6Pete Prisco of CBS Sports discusses the NFL offseason and the NFL draft.
- Jay Feely, Cardinals kicker - Thursday March 6Would a change to the extra point actually hinder player safety?
- Dave Pasch, ESPN play-by-play announcer - Tuesday March 4Dave Pasch, ESPN play-by-play announcer, discusses UA and ASU basketball.
- It's Paul's Call with Paul Calvisi! - Monday March 3Get off Paul's Lawn!