Cardinals HC Jonathan Gannon: RB James Conner could miss ‘a little bit of time’
Oct 9, 2023, 5:00 PM
(Felisa Cárdenas/Arizona Sports)
TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals lost a key cog to their offensive operation when James Conner was forced out of Sunday’s 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals with a knee injury.
And from the sounds of head coach Jonathan Gannon on top of Arizona’s addition of running back Tony Jones Jr., there’s a chance the RB’s absence could extend beyond Week 5.
“I’m not quite sure yet, but it looks like (Conner could miss) a little bit of time,” Gannon told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Monday.
“We’re still working through that,” the head coach added. “James will be back at some point but honestly just wanted to add another back for some depth there to make sure we’re OK there for practice and for the games.”
Conner exited Sunday’s tilt in the second quarter immediately following a 35-yard run that put the Cardinals in a position to find the end zone and take a lead for the first (and only time) all game.
The running back was seen running into the locker room after being evaluated in the blue medical tent but did not return in the loss. He finished with six carries for 46 yards and was not targeted in the passing game.
In his place was undrafted rookie Emari Demercado. With both Conner and Keaontay Ingram sidelined, the young running back accounted for 57 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
For the first time in his career, Demercado went from situational pass catcher to every-down back, gaining valuable experience in the process.
That very well could come into play this week and, potentially, beyond given the unknown surrounding Conner.
But while Demercado has a full head of steam heading into the week of prep for the Los Angeles Rams, he’s far from Arizona’s only option to take into account.
In addition to the trio of Demercado, Jones and Conner, the Cardinals have backup Keaontay Ingram currently on the 53-man roster. Super Bowl champion Damien Williams and Corey Clement are also practice squad options, though it sounds like the former could be in for an elevation sooner rather than later.
“Damien we added last week, so he’ll be up and we’ll try to get him going,” Gannon told Burns & Gambo. “But I like where Emari and Keaontay are at so we got some good options in there if James does miss some time that we can fill the void and play football.”
– Aside from Conner, Gannon also said the team was still sorting through Jalen Thompson’s hamstring injury suffered in Week 5’s loss to Cincinnati.