I was convinced I had seen last of FB/RB/ST standout Elijhaa Penny when I wrote my “A Penny Wasted” column yesterday. Much to my relief and elation, I was wrong. The Cardinals re-signed Penny to the practice squad.
MedBird chimed in to yesterday’s discussion and wrote “you’re taking it too personally.” He was and is correct. As a Cardinals’ fan since November 24, 1963, whenever one of my favorite players gets cut, I take it personally, especially when it makes such little sense given what my head coach has laid out as the criteria for making the football team.
Some of you commented that I was off-base for comparing a #2 FB to a #5 CB and that no team should keep 2 FBs. My argument is that when it comes to the last couple spots on an NFL roster, the most important consideration should be special teams. Elijhaa Penny was 2nd on the team last year in ST tackles with 11. Brandon Williams had 2. Penny’s 11 ST tackles, ranked him 21st in the NFL.
Not only did I feel that Penny was the better blocker than Derrick Coleman in the games and in the practices that I was able to view tapes of, I have always believed that he would be the perfect lower-the-shoulder RB to give the ball to late in games when you want to milk the clock.
The one time Penny was given consistent carries last year, he rushed for 10/45/4.5/1 TD versus the Redskins and along the way steamrolled FS D.J. Swearinger twice. The added bonus is that Penny is outstanding at protecting the ball; he has never fumbled in a pre-season or regular season game as an Arizona Cardinal. In these ways, I believe that Penny possessed the “physicality” and “DNA” that Steve Wilks has prescribed for his Cardinals.
I wish I could be watching him again this week versus the Redskins. But, for now, I just hope he’s back on the 53 man asap.