James Conner: I bring leadership, hard-nosed football to Arizona

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Chase Edmonds has been a complementary back throughout his time in the NFL, but the departure of Kenyan Drake as a free agent this offseason offered him a chance to move up to the top rung of the depth chart for the first time.

Edmonds said he is “ready to run through a damn wall” to make the most of that chance and the Cardinals will likely give him plenty of chances to show he’s capable of doing exactly that. All of the team’s eggs are not in the Edmonds basket, however.

The Cardinals signed James Conner as a free agent off a down year with the Steelers, but Conner said on On the Fly that he’s confident that he has plenty to offer Arizona in whatever role they carve out for him this season.

“Especially in the backfield, I’m the older guy with the most leadership,” Conner said. “Year 5 for me. So I just think I can bring leadership here. Just hard-nosed football, but also get involved in the passing game as well. Hard-earned yards, but also just big explosive plays, alongside with all the other guys. Just my presence.”

Conner has only been in the league one year longer than Edmonds, but his time as the top back in Pittsburgh made the Cardinals feel like he’s a good fit as experienced insurance for a back who has never run 100 times in a season. Should Edmonds falter, Conner will get a chance to show he can be more than that.

8 responses to “James Conner: I bring leadership, hard-nosed football to Arizona

  1. Edmonds is a stud. He is a guy who was a 4th round pick who has improved each and every year, he’s a great runner in this scheme but more importantly he is an absolute stud in the passing game as a pass catching back. James Connor is a great addition as he is the tough runner downhill style runner this team needs paired with Edmonds. AZ doesn’t plan on relying on one or the other but instead will split carries between the two. And with a QB as dynamic as Kyler who can hurt you with his arm or his legs w/ elite speed defenses will have to stay honest, they can’t load the box so both Edmonds and Connor will be seeing a lot of light box’s making their job easier compared to how teams would play them if they had a statue pocket passer back there.

  2. The only thing this guy brings is an inability to avoid contact & injuries galore. He’d probably break his arm getting the Covid vaccine.

  3. twofourfourthree says:
    June 22, 2021 at 2:15 pm
    Notice he didn’t say he’s bringing speed and agility.

    By that logic I guess you’d pass on RB Derek Henry because he is not a burner running a 4.55 40 coming out of College. You dont need to be a burner to be a good running back in the NFL. The Browns Nick Chubb ran a 4.52 & 7.09 3 cone coming out at 5″11/227 pounds. Look at SEA’s Chris Carson who ran a 4.58 40 @ 6ft 218 pounds. James Connor coming out of college at a hair under 6″2-235 pounds ran a 4.6 40 time with a 7.10 3 cone time. You know what all those guys have in common? They’re POWER runners and really more on their physicality and quickness than blazing speed. With Connor while he isn’t a blazer he is very quick in small spaces with the ability to make guys miss & is very agile moving very well for a big man with light feet. Connor has lost some weight and is in the best physical shape of his career going into 2021 so he is a bit faster now than he was running at 235-240 pounds. Coming out of College Connor was one of the most explosive backs in the FBS with more 20+ YDs runs (19) than Joe Mixon (17), Christian McCaffrey (14), Dalvin Cook (13), Marlon Mack (12), Kareem Hunt (9), Alvin Kamara (5), Chris Carson (3).

    Talent has never been Connor’s problem as the guy has never averaged less than 4.3YDs per carry over the course of a season. Connors injury issues have been real in the past but their are a few reason why I believe he will fare better in AZ and stay healthy. For starters in Arizona Connor will be running behind one of the best top 10 caliber offensive lines in the NFL next season and will be splitting the load with Chase Edmonds but more importantly unlike in Pittsburgh teams won’t be able to stack the box as Connor will be playing with not just a mobile QB but arguably the best rushing QB in the NFL with elite 4.3 speed. Both Chase Edmonds and James Connor will constantly be facing light boxs and with D-Coordinators/Defenses consistently terrified of Murray gashing them with his legs that is going to really open up the run game for both Edmonds and Connor.
    Arizona had one of the best rushing offences in the league last season ranking 6th overall rushing w/ the 4th most rushing TDs w/24 and with QB K. Murray going into year 3, Chase Edmonds ready for an expanded role both as a runner and receiver and the signing of an above average quality power back in Connor Arizona should again have one of the best rushing offences in the NFL and James Connor will be a part of that. He was a quality addition to AZ’s football team.

  4. James Conner: I bring leadership, hard-nosed football to Arizona

    If he brought all of that to the table then he’d still be in Pittsburgh!

    These kids today sure have a very high regard of themselves don’t they? Sure Conner had 1 good season(2018), but in the 2yrs since then he’s been average at best.

  5. Let’s remember Hicks and his injury issues while in Philly… When in AZ, he’s been 100%. (It’s a dry heat!)

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