Cards notebook: James Conner’s ‘soft hands’ give offense another wrinkle

Aug 18, 2021, 4:31 PM | Updated: 4:33 pm
Arizona Cardinals running backs James Conner (6) and Chase Edmonds (2) run through drills during tr...
Arizona Cardinals running backs James Conner (6) and Chase Edmonds (2) run through drills during training camp Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals added another pair of legs for the running backs room in the form of James Conner this offseason.

With Kenyan Drake off to Las Vegas to back up Josh Jacobs, Arizona’s rushing attack now revolves around the one-two punch of Chase Edmonds and the former Pittsburgh Steeler.

Both backs initially felt the addition was nothing but positive for a team looking to improve on its 8-8 finish a year prior.

Now with some time to mesh, Edmonds sees a ton of potential in what the pair can be this season. The running back knew of Conner’s rushing abilities, but after seeing him as a pass catcher, Edmonds is even more juiced.

“He really has soft hands, he runs pretty good routes. Especially for 230, he can move well,” Edmonds said. “I think that helps us a lot because it eliminates the tendencies sometimes for offenses.”

Instead of the defense pinpointing which back will do what out of the backfield, it’s a virtual wild card of who will pass protect and who will flare out.

Versatility is never a bad thing to have in the NFL.

Kliff Kingsbury shows empathy to those cut from the roster

Cuts are being made more and more as NFL teams inch closer and closer to Week 1 of the regular season.

While it’s an every season occurrence for head coaches, that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. Especially when the head coach has lived through more than his fair share of releases.

Just take it from Kliff Kingsbury, who after being cut more than a handful of times makes it a point to talk with each and every player he cuts before they leave the organization.

“That life is not very glamorous when you get on that circuit and you’re trying out for different teams every week and I lived it, so I think I definitely have some empathy there,” Kingsbury said Wednesday.

“Everybody’s different,” he added. “I think it’s important to be specific to what they can do better and what they did, so I try to make sure it’s personal.”

The Cardinals will endure two more series of cuts as they work their way to the 53-man number following Tuesday’s cutdown to 80.

And from the sounds of it, there’s still quite a few roster spots up for grabs.

“There’s decisions, I think the backend of all those position groups are wide open still,” Kingsbury said. “Friday night will be a great test for guys to get a ton of playing time and see what they do with it.” 


Kingsbury on the NFL strictly enforcing taunting in 2021:

“The officials came in and showed us the reel of what’s considered taunting and what’s not. … I think it’s gonna take some time for everybody to get used to, get a feel for it, what’s acceptable, what’s not. They’ll probably call it pretty tight in preseason and hopefully during the season they back off a little bit because it’s a hard game. You should be able to celebrate when you make a play.”

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Cards notebook: James Conner’s ‘soft hands’ give offense another wrinkle