Cardinals’ Edmonds expects return to 3-man backfield vs. Rams
Nov 25, 2019, 3:32 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, Ariz. — All signs point to Chase Edmonds joining an already-curious running back rotation for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
Edmonds last played Oct. 27 against the New Orleans Saints but missed the past three games — all losses — with a hamstring injury.
He was limited but out on the practice field Monday as Arizona returned from a bye week. Edmonds said he went through a final run test and was only held back as the Cardinals wanted to give him a few more days of rest.
“I knew already that I didn’t have no problems cutting off of it,” Edmonds said of his hamstring. “I mean, I was fine cutting off of it a week-and-a-half ago. It just for me is really (about) getting from 80% to 90 and 100, and I feel like I’m there now.
“I’ll be full-go Wednesday,” Edmonds added. “I feel good to go and I’ll be ready Sunday.”
It’ll be then that Arizona faces the NFC West division rival Los Angeles Rams for the first time this season. The game marks the first of three consecutive home games.
Arizona hosts Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and then Cleveland before hitting the road, facing the Seattle Seahawks and Rams to close 2019.
The five-game stretch, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, will be treated as a mini-season of sorts.
The Cardinals are just glad to have a full stable of running backs to attack the final stretch of the year.
Kingsbury again maintained that all three of Edmonds, Kenyan Drake and David Johnson will earn a share of snaps moving forward. But with Edmonds on ice over the last few weeks of games, Arizona has reduced Johnson’s role.
Johnson earned just nine snaps to Drake’s 61 in a Week 11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and didn’t receive a touch.
Kingsbury called the three-back unit “a good problem to have” on Monday.
The Cardinals top 3 running backs this season each have an overall grade that ranks among the top 20 running backs in the NFL (min 40 attempts):
Kenyan Drake: 78.3 (since joining AZ)
David Johnson: 74.2
Chase Edmonds: 73.6 pic.twitter.com/VHzPPQsZHB
— PFF ARZ Cardinals (@PFF_Cardinals) November 23, 2019
Edmonds, in just his second season, is prepared to attack preparation like he is fighting for backup snaps.
The numbers, however, are on his side. Over eight games, he is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has 295 yards and four rushing touchdowns this year. He also has 12 catches for 105 yards and another score.
Drake has averaged 5.2 yards per carry over three games since being traded to Arizona from Miami, while Johnson has struggled at 3.7 yards per rush. Johnson still has 302 rushing yards and is third on the Cardinals with 323 receiving yards in 2019.
After Kingsbury promised both Johnson and Drake would have something close to an equal share of snaps heading into their last game, however, the Cardinals gave Drake clearly the bigger role.
Whether the coaching staff created a plan to truly utilize all three backs in the final five games remains to be seen.
For the record, Edmonds believes Kingsbury’s up-tempo offense will run enough plays within each game to give the three running backs a good share of opportunity. Regardless, Edmonds doesn’t see any controversy upcoming.
“It’ll be fine, man,” he said. “We’ll all talented, we’re all selfless. It’s not going to be a problem at all.”Array