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Chase Edmonds, 2 Cardinals backup RBs ready to go vs. Dolphins

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) dives past San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

In a press conference earlier in the week, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores mentioned three of the Arizona Cardinals’ main weapons to reporters: quarterback Kyler Murray, receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Chase Edmonds.

Cardinals starting running back Kenyan Drake’s ankle injury all but officially ruled him out for this Sunday’s game, and it is now time for Edmonds to slide into an expanded role.

While there are questions of what Arizona does at running back behind him, it was a statement that Miami very well knows the dangers of the backup.

Edmonds isn’t making much of what amounts to his second game as the clear-cut No. 1 running back.

“It’s just going to be at a higher volume, that’s all it is,” Edmonds said Friday. “That’s really how I try to look at it. Focus up, do my job and let the game come to you. I think when players start to make certain situations more than it is … that’s when you start pressing the issue.”

The third-year pro has just 176 yards rushing so far in 2020, but that’s come on 6.1 yards per carry.

What Edmonds brings is a different element to the offense compared to Drake.

It’s not lost on Flores and the Dolphins defense that Edmonds puts defenses in compromising positions if he slides out to the slot or shuffles out of the backfield into the flat.

Since his rookie year, he has spoken about growing as a receiving back, but Friday he revealed that lots of his offseason preparation involved watching film of the Saints’ Alvin Kamara and the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey.

It’s shown so far in 2020. He has made a big dent for the Cardinals in the passing game with 222 receiving yards on 32 targets, both of which are third-best on the team.

Beyond his obvious snap bump with Drake sidelined, Arizona could turn to one of two options, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

“D.J. Foster’s a guy, second year in the system … knows it inside and out,” the coach said. “Can catch it, can run it. Can do anything we need him to do, as well as contribute on special teams. Have a lot of confidence in him and his role.

“(Jonathan) Ward is a guy who has continued to get better throughout training camp, throughout the season … has got a bunch of reps this week as well. We feel like we’re in good hands if those guys need to go in the game.”

Foster must be pulled up from the practice squad, while Ward, an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan, has impressed the team since training camp. He ran out of practice squad call-ups and is a member of the 53-man roster.

Kingsbury did not mention sixth-round pick Eno Benjamin, the Arizona State rookie who has been a frequent healthy scratch on gamedays so far.

EXTRA POINTS

— Tight end Maxx Williams has progressed well from an ankle injury and this week was designated to return. It’s possible he could be moved back onto the 53-man roster before Sunday.

“We’re hopeful he’ll have some sort of a role Sunday,” Kingsbury said.

— With cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (thigh) out against the Dolphins and Arizona already down nickel Byron Murphy, the Cardinals will turn to Kevin Peterson and newcomer De’Vante Bausby behind Patrick Peterson.


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