Cardinals playing it smart with RBs James Conner, Chase Edmonds

Jan 4, 2022, 11:40 AM
Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with Chase Edmonds #2 after a 18-y...
Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with Chase Edmonds #2 after a 18-yard rushing touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Texans 31-5. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals enter the final week of the regular season in the playoff picture but needing a win to still have a chance at securing the NFC West title.

A victory over the Seattle Seahawks and a Los Angeles Rams loss to the San Francisco 49ers would secure the division and a first-round hosting for the Cardinals.

A huge help in completing the playoff scenario would be having the Cardinals backfield churning at full strength.

But with both running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds banged up as they enter the week of practice, head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t about to risk their availability for the postseason with their chance at winning the division ultimately out of their control.

“We’re gonna try to be smart,” Kingsbury said Monday. “We’ll see how they progress the next couple of days. I don’t know exactly how much we’ll use them but we wanna make sure they’re ready for the playoffs. That’s when we’ve been at our best when both of those guys are healthy and getting to play and take some snaps off of each other and we’d like to get back to that.”

Conner missed his second straight game on Sunday due to a heel issue, while Edmonds was seen shaken up during the win over Dallas. He missed some time before eventually returning to the game, finishing with 53 yards on 18 carries. He also caught five balls (six targets) for 29 yards.

Edmonds missed four games earlier this year with an ankle sprain.

He’s taken most of the snaps the past two weeks and still hit 80% of them Sunday despite his most recent injury. With that, backups Eno Benjamin (nine snaps) and Jonathan Ward (eight snaps) received more opportunities.

Kingsbury added that while the Cardinals want to make sure they are at their best for the playoffs, if Conner and Edmonds can in fact play against Seattle, they will play.

No scoreboard watching for the Cardinals

At this point of the season, there’s more than enough scoreboard watching across the league, especially with the amount of tight division races and a Wild Card spot still up for grabs.

The Cardinals may be one of those teams fighting to win their division, but they won’t be among those dedicating their time to game updates in hopes of potentially resting guys if things fall their way.

As far as the game that most directly impacts Arizona, the Rams and 49ers have the same kickoff time of 2:25 p.m. on Sunday.

“We won’t have anybody monitoring it,” Kingsbury said. “We’re trying to win a game. We need to play well going into the playoffs and this team just scored 50 points and has played everybody tough. … One of the most competitive teams over the last decade.”

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