Cardinals’ Keaontay Ingram more than ready to contribute vs. Seahawks
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin is shaping up to be the team’s primary rushing threat in Week 6 with starting running back James Conner considered day-to-day with a ribs issue that has held him out of practice the past two days.
The injuries in the backfield don’t stop there, either, with Darrel Williams reportedly already ruled out due to a knee injury and the Cardinals placing Jonathan Ward on the injured reserve with a pulled hamstring on Wednesday.
The likelihood of not having Conner and Williams is very much a possibility, especially given the team’s quick turnaround of two games in five days. And even if one or both can in fact suit up, there’s a real chance they could be on snap counts or serve as decoys in the offense.
That leaves rookie Keaontay Ingram as the next man up behind Benjamin. After waiting in the wings as a healthy scratch over the first five weeks of his rookie season, the former USC Trojan is more than ready to prove himself.
“The NFL is too hard just sitting on the sidelines. I want to contribute, I want to be a guy,” Ingram said Thursday. “The respect, earn that from my peers and guys that have been in the league for 12-13 years. That’ll mean the most to me and that’s what I’m excited to do to start my journey.
“I feel very comfortable. I’m confident in myself,” the RB added. “I feel like the guys that are surrounding me are confident in me, too, so I think it’s about that time to get ready to roll now.”
During one of his first major media scrums on Thursday, you could tell Ingram was confident in his abilities just from the way he carried himself and how he answered questions.
He didn’t seem like a deer in the headlights, but more so as an established back that’s been in this situation before despite not yet playing a regular season game.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been a tough grind for the rookie trying to find his way to the football field.
“It’s challenging, it’s humbling,” Ingram said. “It really shows you how much you really love the game. I thought I loved it for a second, but when I got it taken away from me, that was a humbling experience. I’m itching to get back out there, I’ll tell you that.”
And from the sounds of it, Ingram isn’t the only one eager to see the running back’s NFL debut.
“Excited for him,” starting right tackle Kelvin Beachum said Thursday. “This is his first time out. Any time you get an opportunity to have a great first impression, on the road, in the division, in a hostile environment and you thrive in it, all it does is give you confidence as a young player so really excited for him.”
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Ingram’s ability as a rusher was among the leading factors as to why the team kept five running backs on the roster.
On Sunday, we may very well get our first glimpse of that.