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Cardinals plan to keep five running backs -- for now

With Arizona's preseason slate in the books, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has a better idea of the roster he's inherited and molded since taking the job in mid-January -- especially at running back.

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Coming off Thursday night's 32-24 preseason win over the Denver Broncos, Arians told reporters he plans to hold on to all five of his backs, meaning roster-bubble candidate Ryan Williams is safe. For now.

"I'm so happy for him," Arians said, per ArizonaSports.com. "He busted his tail six hours a day in the weight room for four months. He was so frustrated in camp, but I was so happy to see him get out and play football and play it well."

Asked if Williams did enough to make the final 53, Arians said: "I don't think there's any doubt. We're so good at running back."

Good enough to keep all five? Yes, sir.

"We're solid. They can all play," Arians said, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic. "You can't have enough good backs. There's enough teams right now looking for backs. And we've got a stable of them. I'm not going to cut a running back that's a good football player to keep an average player just to have eight players at another position."

Somers believes Arians might be opening the door for trade activity. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported this week that Williams, specifically, is on the block, but teams aren't going to offer much for a third-year pro who can't stay on the field. The No. 38 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft saw his surgically repaired knee act up in training camp, and he hasn't shown the ability to stay healthy, playing in just five games over two seasons.

Williams showed flashes against the Broncos -- running for 25 yards and one touchdown on nine carries -- but he's no longer the back of the future in Arizona. Starter Rashard Mendenhall didn't play Thursday because of a sprained knee, but he's expected to be ready for Week 1, and behind him, Alfonso Smith, Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington give the Cardinals options. We wouldn't be surprised to see this five-man clown car reduced to four before the real games begin.

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