Kliff Kingsbury: Matter of time before Cardinals run game finds big play

Oct 3, 2020, 4:02 PM | Updated: 4:57 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)

The Arizona Cardinals boast a top-10 rushing attack through the first three weeks of NFL action.

The trio of Kenyan Drake, Kyler Murray and Chase Edmonds have accounted for more yards on the ground (449) than the run-heavy offenses of the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts. Drake sits inside the top-10 among NFL rushers.

Something’s not quite yet there, however.

Outside of Murray’s shifty 22-yard touchdown run in Week 1, the running game hasn’t been able to find that big-play magic many expected it to following last season’s second-half run.

Drake and Edmonds have yet to crack the 100-yard threshold in a game, with Drake the lone running back on the team with a touchdown. Drake’s yards per carry have also seen a dip, dropping from 5.2 through eight games with the Cardinals last season to 4.1 in 2020.

But with no preseason to fine-tune things and a limited offseason, head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t fretting over the lack of big plays just yet as both rushers are still contributing to the overall offensive attack the head coach has in place.

“Both guys have done a tremendous job whether it’s the run game or the pass game and those things come,” Kingsbury told reporters Wednesday via Zoom call.

“Like I said, everybody’s still a work in progress at this point through this first month feeling things out and those plays will come. Offensive line I think has done a solid job. We’ve had a consistent run game, just haven’t popped the big one yet, but you can’t force that. It will come as we continue to get better.”

While Edmonds has gotten far less looks than Drake in the running game, 12 carries compared to Drake’s 54, the third-year RB has been added more into the passing game mix.

Catching eight balls for 49 yards and accounting for one of Murray’s first four passing touchdowns of the year, Edmonds has found a nice role within the offensive scheme. Numbers in the box score are always nice, but it’s what’s not being recorded that has his teammates impressed.

“Chase is one of those players I’ve always been impressed with,” offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said Wednesday via Zoom. “I remember watching him as a rookie come in and be able to pick up blitzes and stunts, understand the schemes and defenses and understand the offense and what we had to accomplish and what we were responsible for.

“He’s always taken it seriously and I think he’s continued that steady growth and steady progressing throughout his career. And it’s refreshing to watch … with such a young player to see somebody take things so seriously and be so detailed and dialed in and focused on what he’s doing.”

The offense is moving a little differently this season with more emphasis on the passing game than last year. That tends to happen when you add an All-Pro wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and want to get the ball in his hands. The rushing numbers may not be jumping off the page right now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see the duo sulking in the corner.

“Very versatile backs. I think our offense is so talented and what we’re doing right now, as far as passing the ball, it’s just the flow of the game type of deal,” Murray said.

“Obviously I’m sure they could both use some more carries here and there but that’s just the way the game goes. They’re very unselfish guys so they’re not complaining about it or anything like that. As long as we win I think everybody’s happy and that’s the way it should be.”

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Kliff Kingsbury: Matter of time before Cardinals run game finds big play