With three weeks remaining until the NFL’s regular season opens, former Northern Arizona running back Zach Bauman remains in pursuit of a roster spot.
In Saturday’s preseason opener against the Houston Texans, Bauman led the Cardinals in rushing with seven carries for 29 yards. All of his work with the offense came in one drive, with 10:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Bauman’s first run was his best, starting the drive with a 13-yard carry to the left side that was the longest run of the day for any Cardinals player.
“It was very reassuring,” Bauman said. “To have the longest run of the game like that, it just lets you know that you are able to play at this level.”
Bauman still faces long odds to finish the preseason on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster. Andre Ellington is set as the starter while second-year back Stepfan Taylor and free agent signee Jonathan Dwyer seem set for spots on the roster. Bauman still sits behind Robert Hughes and Jalen Parmele on the depth chart at running back, with most likely just one spot up for grabs.
With the need to stand out, either for the Cardinals and ultimately a practice squad spot or any of the 31 other NFL teams, Bauman admitted to feeling a little pressured to do as much as possible in a small window of time. Along with his snaps at running back, Bauman said he is on kickoff and the hands team.
“You are trying to do more with less in a sense,” Bauman said. “You may only have one series and you don’t know how many carries you are going to get. I try to just go out there and relax because as a running back, you just have to take what the defense gives you.”
With the Cardinals dominating the Texans throughout the game, Bauman was lucky to find himself as part of a 14-play, touchdown scoring drive as his opportunity.
He said he knew he would be playing in the game at some point, but wasn’t sure how long it would be.
Arizona faces the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 16 for the second game of the preseason and Bauman said he expects a similar role in the game, with his playing time most likely to be similar to what he had against the Texans.