It appears Chase Edmonds will finally get his chance to be the lead running back for the Cardinals. The team only added James Conner as serious playing-time competition for Edmonds, but unless Conner plays like Superman, Edmonds should get a chance at the most work he's ever had. Not only should that include plenty of passing situations (he averaged 3.3 receptions per game last year), but a healthy dose of the early-downs work as well. That could total close to 15 touches per week -- more in games Conner misses due to injury. The main risk is whether or not Edmonds can handle it since he has four career starts and nine career games with 10-plus touches (six in 2020). The other issue is a lack of experience in goal-line carries -- Edmonds literally has one career carry inside the 5-yard line (three catches, all for touchdowns). That combined with guys like Conner and Kyler Murray taking those touches from him will make touchdowns tougher to come by. At least his schedule outside of the NFC West isn't that much of a deterrent. This all means Edmonds has a great shot at well over 1,000 total yards (he had 850 total in 2020), but not many scores. Running backs with that kind of outlook are usually reserved for Round 5 or 6.
Edmonds has been joined in the Cardinals backfield by James Conner, whom the organization signed Tuesday, Darren Urban of the team's official site reports. After Kenyan Drake was allowed to explore free agency, eventually linking up with the Raiders, Edmonds was the highest profile holdover among Arizona's running backs before this acquisition. At 6-foot-1, 233 pounds, Conner has the stature of an early-down and short-yardage option, but Edmonds has two years of experience in coach Kliff Kingsbury's system, which has resulted in 4.8 YPC on 157 rushes, 65 catches on 88 targets and 10 total touchdowns in 29 games. The Cardinals still may add another RB during the upcoming draft, but Edmonds likely has the upper hand for more work between him and Conner considering the latter's injury history (he missed time every season and played 50 of a possible 64 contests during four years in Pittsburgh).
Edmonds compiled career highs in carries (97), catches (53) and yards from scrimmage (850) during the 2020 campaign. Edmonds was aided on the carry front when starting running back Kenyan Drake logged his only absence of the season Week 9, racking up 25 rushes in that contest. Meanwhile, Edmonds was leaned on by Kyler Murry in the passing game as he finished fourth on the team in targets with 67 in 16 games. Edmonds is a key cog of the Cardinals offense under coach Kliff Kingsbury, and the RB enters the offseason as the most highly regarded player at the position under contract in 2021 with Drake set to be an unrestricted free agent. Depending on how Arizona proceeds with its backfield in free agency and the draft, Edmonds could be its lead option in the fall.
Edmonds (hip) is active for Sunday's road game versus the Rams, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. When available and serving as Kenyan Drake's direct backup this season, Edmonds has averaged 8.8 touches for 56.1 yards from scrimmage while scoring five TDs across 13 games. The potential exists for Edmonds to be inhibited by the hip injury that kept him off the practice field during the week. If that happens, whatever he's unable to handle likely will shift to Drake and (to a lesser extent) D.J. Foster.
The Cardinals are optimistic that Edmonds (hip) -- who is listed as questionable for Sunday against the Rams -- will be able to suit up, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Edmonds is being treated as a game-time decision ahead of Sunday's 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, but he looks like he'll be able to contribute in some capacity during the regular-season finale. Kenyan Drake should remain Arizona's lead ball carrier Week 17, but an available Edmonds would likely serve as the team's top pass-catching option out of the backfield. Edmonds could even be asked to take some snaps out of the slot with Christian Kirk (reserve/COVID-19 list) ruled out for the contest and with Larry Fitzgerald (groin) uncertain to play.
Edmonds (hip) didn't practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Rams, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports. Per Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Edmonds and wideout Larry Fitzgerald (groin) will be game-time decisions ahead of the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. Neither logged any level of practice participation this week, but Edmonds suited up last week after managing only one limited session. He was then forced out after 16 snaps and two touches in the 20-12 loss to San Francisco, suffering a hip injury to add to the ankle and knee issues that put him on the injury report in the first place. D.J. Foster stepped in to play 17 snaps behind Kenyan Drake last week, finishing with one carry and no targets.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/03||@Los Angeles Rams||6||14.56|
|5||10/10||San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
|8||10/28||Green Bay Packers||27||20.33|
|9||11/07||@San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
|14||12/13||Los Angeles Rams||6||14.56|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||72||320||2||28||203||2||76|