Under normal circumstances the “announcement” of a 2nd team running back wouldn’t bring headlines. When the starting running back is Rashard Mendenhall however it is the opposite of a normal circumstance.

According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is strongly leaning toward Alfonso Smith as the “handcuff” to Mendenhall. Arians anointed Smith as the backup by saying that he was “probably our next guy” in the event that Mendenhall was unavailable and this was the first tinge of clarity in this situation all season.

Mendenhall is already injured heading into the season and is listed as questionable for Week 1 with a knee injury. Even if he is healthy the former Pittsburgh running back has a career rushing average of just 4.1 yards per carry and he hasn’t been the same player that he was in the early stages of his career.