Smith says there is plenty of room for two running backs,
himself and Marcel Shipp.
Shipp, who took over when Smith broke his shoulder blade against
Dallas on Oct. 5, has rushed for 165 and 141 yards, respectively,
in Arizona's victories over San Francisco and Cincinnati the past
Already, there is wide speculation about what will happen when
the NFL's career rushing leader comes back. The talk bothers Smith.
"Yeah, it bugs me a lot," he said Thursday, "because people
are making it out like it's a problem, and it's not."
Smith said he has nothing but admiration for the way Shipp has
performed, and the way the offensive line has opened holes for the
Smith, 34, had just 192 yards rushing in 65 carries before he
was hurt, an average of 3.0 yards. Shipp, 25, has 447 yards in 102
attempts, 4.4 yards per carry.
While he praised Shipp, Smith noted a big reason the ground game
has done so well in the last two games is the lack of turnovers.
Smith said with all the early-season turnovers, the running game
wasn't able to develop because the team was playing from behind and
had to throw. The Cardinals have had just two turnovers the last
two weeks after 18 the first six games.
"I believe there is," Smith said when asked if there are enough carries for two backs. "When you're getting 35 or 29
carries a game, I know there is."
Shipp carried 35 times against San Francisco and 29 times
"He'll probably get 35 carries again this week," coach Dave
McGinnis is avoiding all speculation about what will happen when
Smith returns. Shipp is the No. 1 back now, he said, and when Smith
returns, things will work out.
"It is not a problem," the coach said.
When he signed with Arizona, Smith did so with the assurance he
would be the No. 1 back. But he and Shipp said Thursday it wouldn't
matter who starts.
"You know what a big deal is to me? Winning," Smith said.
"That's why I'm here. I am willing to do whatever I need to do to
help this team win."
Shipp echoed that sentiment.
"I'm a team guy. I want to win," he said. "Regardless of
whether I'm the star or not even getting the ball, whatever I can
do to help this team win I'll do it."
Shipp, who came to the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent out
of Massachusetts, thought he would be the starter after the team
signed him to a contract extension last year. When Smith was
signed, Shipp moved into the backup role and didn't complain.
Shipp knows he's making the coaching staff's decision a tough
"That's my job. If I was to make it easy for them I wouldn't be
doing my job," Shipp said. "But regardless of the role that they
see for me, I'll be content with it."