James Conner ready prove he can be 3-down back for Cardinals

Sep 11, 2021, 3:00 PM
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during Training Camp at State Farm Stad...
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during Training Camp at State Farm Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

When the Arizona Cardinals signed James Conner in the offseason, many thought he would be the bruiser of the running back room to spell starter Chase Edmonds and play a role in short yardage situations.

However, don’t tell that to Conner. The 26-year-old running back is out to prove he can be more than just a complimentary piece in the offense.

“I truly believe so,” Conner said when asked if he feels he can be a three-down back while on Big Red Rage. “Every time I go out there I try to play my best football … Feel like I’m doing everything in my power to show how good of a football player I am and what kind of teammate I am.”

Spending four NFL seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Conner earned the reputation of a power back. While that distinction doesn’t bother him, he’s excited to show his chops in the Cardinals’ passing attack.

With Pittsburgh, Conner registered 124 career receptions. He was most effective in 2018, where he caught 55 passes on 71 targets for 497 yards and a touchdown.

For the most part, he was used in the screen game and was a check-down option during his time with the Steelers. Now in Arizona, he may be used just a touch differently by head coach Kliff Kingsbury as an option for quarterback Kyler Murray to throw to. Conner even saw reps in the slot during training camp.

“Now I get the opportunity to come out to the West Coast and be an Arizona Cardinal and be able to show what I can do in the pass game and continue to show what I can do in the run game,” Conner said.

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