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Cardinals’ RB options behind David Johnson bring upside, inexperience

(AP photos)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Cardinals found out the hard way what life without David Johnson looks like last season. And it’s not something they want to experience again anytime soon. But at least the depth chart behind him has some compelling options this time around.

For one, Chase Edmonds has been making a name for himself during camp, already looking a lot more polished than you’d expect a fourth-round pick out of Fordham to look this early in the process.

“Very smart guy,” Johnson pointed out. “Very smart running back. I think he’s smarter than I was when I was a rookie. Being able to pick up the offensive scheme and being able to really utilize that in the practices and knowing what he’s supposed to do in blitz pickup, running the ball. He knows where to place the ball at and I think he’s going to be a great running back with us.”

T.J. Logan is essentially a rookie as well, having missed the entire 2017 campaign after dislocating his wrist in the Hall of Fame Game last season. Like Edmonds, Logan was turning heads in camp a year ago before he got hurt. So that’s two backs with interesting upside, albeit with virtually zero NFL experience between them.

Then there’s D.J. Foster. The former ASU standout isn’t exactly a vet, but he does have ten games on his resume. Seven of those came last year with Arizona and, while his primary contributions have come through the air, Steve Wilks sees the potential for more.

“D.J. is very intriguing,” the head coach pointed out. “I think he’s doing some great things. I think he is a back that can run in between the tackles, as well as get outside. I don’t think he’s just a receiving back. I think he’s doing a great job in his pass protection. He’s really stepping up there. Him and T.J. both are doing some great things and it’s a good battle right there. As well as Chase.”

To be fair, these guys will have to prove that they can make an impact on Sundays before anyone would call the Cardinals deep at the position. But there’s some legitimate potential here. And, most importantly, with Johnson healthy and ready to roll, they should have some time to compete and develop behind him.

“We have some great running backs,” Johnson explained. “We’ve got T.J. coming back, from the same wrist injury, and he’s been looking really well. We’ve got Chase, obviously. D.J. Foster’s been playing in the league for a couple years, so he knows what he’s supposed to do. And then we have Eli [Penny] at fullback, so we have a couple guys – and then Sherman [Badie] as well, who’s been able to come in as a rookie and learn the plays and stuff – so we have a pretty good running back group. And I’m glad it’s going to be tough for the coaches to pick which running back to keep.”

EXTRA POINTS

-With a torn ACL officially sidelining A.Q. Shipley for the season, rookie center Mason Cole was running with the first team on Monday.

-Kurt Warner will be at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday to co-host “Inside Training Camp Live” on NFL Network.

-Wilks has indicated he will likely use Johnson, Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald pretty sparingly during the preseason.

“Preseason?” Johnson laughed when asked if he wants to see many reps in the warm-up games. “No… preseason, no, not really. I want to prove to everyone that I’m back 100 percent when the season starts.”

-Bradford, Fitzgerald and Mike Iupati all had Monday off.

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