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Cardinals Open Practice Window For James Conner

Running back is averaging 5.4 yards a carry this season

Running back James Conner motions to the crowd following his final carry before landing on IR a month ago.
Running back James Conner motions to the crowd following his final carry before landing on IR a month ago.

All of a sudden, the Cardinals offense could look a lot different.

With Kyler Murray slated to return at quarterback on Sunday, the team also designated to return running back James Conner and opened his 21-day practice window on Wednesday. Conner is on Injured Reserve with a knee issue.

Conner has a chance to be activated for Sunday's game against the Falcons, which would give the Cardinals a decidedly different flavor than last week in Cleveland.

Coach Jonathan Gannon acknowledged coaches might have to make sure Conner doesn't go too hard in his first day on the field but "that's why he is who he is. That's why he's a very productive, really good player, because of the way he practices and the way he prepares.

"That trickles down to the team, which is why he is a captain."

Gannon said the team will watch Conner in practice this week before making any decisions about him potentially playing this week.

Conner had been off to an excellent start this season prior to injuring his knee Week 5 against the Bengals at the end of a 35-yard run.

Conner has 364 yards this season on only 68 carries, an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. Both his total yards and his per-carry average were eighth in the NFL prior to his injury, and that was with missing half the Bengals game.

If he is activated for the game, it would be a boon to a backfield that was also missing rookie Emari Demercado last week with a toe problem. Of the many offensive difficulties the Cardinals had against the Browns, running the football was a problem. The Cardinals gained just 41 yards on the ground, and 28 of those came from QB Clayton Tune.

Running backs Keaontay Ingram and Tony Jones combined for 10 rushing yards on 12 carries. Demercado again was a DNP at Wednesday's practice.


The Cardinals signed offensive lineman Austen Pleasants to the practice squad, and also re-signed wide receiver Andre Baccellia and cornerback Quavian White to the practice squad.