Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds bulks up, not a fan of ‘RB1’ label

Jul 27, 2021, 4:45 PM
Chase Edmonds #29 of the Arizona Cardinals stiff arms Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patrio...
Chase Edmonds #29 of the Arizona Cardinals stiff arms Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For the first time since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, running back Chase Edmonds comes into training camp as the team’s “RB1.”

But with the free-agent addition of former Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner, Edmonds prefers not to be called “RB1” and would rather live in the moment and let everything take care of itself.

“Honestly I hate the term RB1,” Edmonds said. “I feel like for me personally, my first years coming in here, I felt like I was already the short end of the stick kind of deal. I always felt like in football you get what you deserve. And everybody in that room is going to get and earn what they do out in training camp.”

“We just talked about in our room being as selfish as possible in terms of your work ethic and your work habits,” Edmonds said of his conversations with Conner.

“And then when each of us is on the field, obviously we’re going to do our best cheering for you, but really it’s a competition and you have to earn your role in this league and on this team.”

With Edmonds poised to at least begin the season as the Cardinals starting running back, the fourth-year pro has put on a few pounds of muscle and leaned out in order to take on the brunt of a 17-game NFL regular season. Edmonds says he now weighs 205 pounds.

“I tried to put on a few pounds, leaned out a little bit,” he said. “That was my main focus and obviously my secondary focus was to improve on my receiving abilities even more.”

When it comes to his involvement in the offense, Edmonds says it’s not about how many carries he gets, but rather how many touches he gets whether that’s via handoffs or as a pass-catcher.

“I think with me, getting me in the open field and finding a way to just specialize with my mismatch with linebackers is really how I feel I’m the best type of football player at that point. … Coach Kliff is obviously going to specialize in that,” Edmonds said.

“We have a lot of talent on offense and we’re going to have to find a way to spread the wealth around, but that’s what makes football so great and a team sport.”

Edmonds added that they’ve already been working on sets and formations that include both him and Conner on the field at the same time. But Edmonds understands that both his and Conner’s usage will be determined by the flow and situation of the game.

“For my football mind, probably four-minute type of deal, you’ll probably see James in there more often than not,” Edmonds said. “Again, football is a team sport. Everybody has to find their role, their unique role, specialize at it and really just achieve it to the best of their ability and that’s kind of what makes a really good football team.”

Despite being in arguably the toughest division in the league, Edmonds has one very clear goal on his mind going into the 2021 season — especially after how last year ended.

Should the Cardinals have won their season finale against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17 last season, Arizona would have made the postseason for the first time since 2015 and the first time in the Kingsbury-Kyler Murray era.

“It’s definitely playoffs,” Edmonds said of his goal for the season. “We’re obviously going to address the elephant in the room. We’re very disappointed just how the season ended last year. To come out and be 6-3 — just from an outsider’s view — it obviously looks like you have pretty good chances to make the playoffs.

“We put it on ourselves. We folded. Point, blank, period. We have to be better.”

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