With Tim Hightower, Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling ahead of him on the depth chart, Jason Wright is not expected to see many touches as a halfback in 2010. However, with several unproven commodities at fullback and a team in need of veteran leadership, the Northwestern alum should be one to keep an eye on in Flagstaff.
This situation is nothing new for Wright who spent two stints on the practice squad for both Atlanta and Cleveland before getting an opportunity on the active roster. Wright finally broke through in 2007, carving a niche as a scat-back and receiving threat as well as a special teams standout for the Browns. Arizona took notice when they signed him to a two-year, $2 million contract prior to last season.
Wright’s numbers were not overwhelming a year ago (three rushes for 17 yards and 9 receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns) but he made the most of his opportunities and played effectively on special teams. Wright may have to set himself apart once again later this month at training camp. With special teams ace Sean Morey gone, the coaching staff is still searching for reliable assets on special teams.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt and company might also consider moving Wright to the fullback position. While not the prototypical size for a fullback (5-foot-10, 215 pounds), Wright has shown himself to be a competent blocker who picks up the blitz and can be used in a variety of ways. Nehemiah Broughton, Charles Ali and Reagan Mauia will all be vying for the starting role, but Wright should be kept in mind as a Larry Centers-type who can do several tasks well.
This offseason, the Cardinals became a great deal younger and lost several of their “headliners” who helped them win two straight division titles. A veteran like Wright is invaluable for the experience and the versatility he brings to the table. When final cuts come down, expect Jason Wright to be a prominent fixture in the fight for 53.
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