Camp K notes: Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds among many mouths to feed

Aug 19, 2020, 12:04 PM
Arizona Cardinals running backs Chase Edmonds (29) and Kenyan Drake (41) run a drill during an NFL ...

Arizona Cardinals running backs Chase Edmonds (29) and Kenyan Drake (41) run a drill during an NFL football workout Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

David Johnson’s departure from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason didn’t come close to ridding head coach Kliff Kingsbury of having too many mouths to feed.

Lost was the fact that Kingsbury last year sticking with the hot hand, Kenyan Drake, also meant that backup running back Chase Edmonds went from major breakout to little-used within a week.

Edmonds rushed for 127 yards and three scores on 27 carries in Week 7 against the New York Giants but after a hamstring injury just wasn’t in the regular rotation. He stuck to the bench as Drake led the way for the rest of 2019, taking only two more carries in the final eight games of the season.

Now it’s a curiosity how Kingsbury can ride Drake as a true No. 1 back while getting Edmonds playing time as well.

“He’s competitive and so I know he wasn’t happy about it,” Kingsbury said of Edmonds’ playing time in the second half of 2019. “We all feel like he’s a starting running back in this league and he does, too. Had he not got hurt against the Giants, I’m not sure we would have traded for Kenyan.

“We liked Kenyan a lot, may have done something after the season, but we felt that confident in what Chase brings.”

The good news for the Cardinals is Edmonds and Drake have embraced one another. They roomed together before facing the San Francisco 49ers days after Arizona traded for Drake, and Edmonds helped him quickly learn the playbook. Drake debuted with 110 rushing and 52 receiving yards two days after joining the team, and that was that for the rest of the year.

Drake and Edmonds have bonded over their similar career arcs. Both began as No. 2 options with aspirations to become one of the best backs in the NFL.

“It was unique to me how K.D. kind of came here,” Edmonds said. “We just really related to each other in that situation.”

Edmonds said he isn’t worried about his role for 2020. He believes both Drake and he will be involved.

“I don’t try to really look at other people’s perspective. I have my own perspective about myself and about the situation of this team,” Edmonds added Wednesday. “I know my number’s called, I will be ready, whatever role they want me to have on this offense. We got a lot of playmakers to feed the ball. That’s a good problem to me.”

General manager Steve Keim didn’t pay Drake transition tag money to not touch the ball, but the problem with finding touches at running back isn’t unrelated to other position groups.

It’d be foolish for Kingsbury not to feed ace receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Larry Fitzgerald is still more than capable, and Christian Kirk is on the rise. We can list off Maxx Williams, Dan Arnold, Trent Sherfield, KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella, too, but you get the point.

“They all want the ball and you wouldn’t want it any other way. There will be games where guys are going to be upset,” Kingsbury said. “We’ll be creative in how we try to distribute the ball but we’re going to call plays to win games. We kind of said that from Day 1.”

Extra points

— DeAndre Hopkins returned to light portions of practice on Wednesday for his first day in pads, going through warmups and individual drills.

“He’s been champing at the bit to get back out there. We’re going to be smart, bring him along slowly,” Kingsbury said. “Today was a good start and we’re going to ease him back into it.”

— Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and left guard Justin Pugh took veterans days off but were present at practice.

— Edmonds revealed that he’s become tight with third-string quarterback Chris Streveler, who is taking on double-duties as a special teams player in order to hopefully make the roster. They worked out “damn near every day” this offseason along with Sherfield and Kirk, according to Edmonds.

“Cool guy, I love Chris. Cool guy, calm, laid back, one of the bros. And he works his ass off,” Edmonds said. “He embraces that doing whatever it takes to make the team.”

— Edmonds used to call linebacker Chandler Jones “Big Bro,” but this year he’s on to nicknaming the Pro Bowler “Veinte,” Spanish for the number 20, a sack goal that would give Jones a new career mark.

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