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Chase Edmonds, Cardinals Ready To Show Run Game

Notes: Gardeck out against Titans; Humphries thinks of Fitz

Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds goes into the season as the starter, although James Conner is expected to share the load.
Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds goes into the season as the starter, although James Conner is expected to share the load.

Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds is 5-foot-9 and 210 pounds, a far cry from the 6-3, 238-pound Derrick Henry, who will be carrying the ball for the Titans Sunday when the teams meet.

And drawing any comparisons to the running back "battle" only brings a smile to Edmonds' face.

"Man, I'm worried about Chase Edmonds and the Arizona Cardinals," Edmonds said Friday. "That's how I feel about that. They got what they got going on. I feel like as long as we focus on our game plan and focus on how we want to attack Tennessee, how we want to put on some points and we (do) put on some points, everything is good."

The spotlight will be on quarterback Kyler Murray's play, and what wide receiver A.J. Green can bring to the offense. But without any true running back battle, the duo of Edmonds and James Conner have quietly prepped to try and improve the non-Murray part of the running game in 2021.

Edmonds is the starter, although there is flexibility there with Conner, and the Cards figure to be fantasy football heartbreakers in terms of sharing the workload.

"We see it as 1A and 1B, either one can come in and start games for us and get the lion's share of the touches," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We're all interested to see how they play. They are under the radar but they are both tremendous players that mean a lot to this offense."

How Edmonds and Conner perform is a large part of the run game, but so too is the offensive line – which should be boosted in all facets by veteran center Rodney Hudson.

The ability for the Cards to churn out crucial yards, however, must be proven after struggling last year. Converting short-yardage or deep red-zone plays was an issue.

"There are times when you could look at us an O-line and say we did everything we were supposed to do (last year)," left tackle D.J. Humphries said. "I also think there were a lot of times when we needed us to show up and the execution wasn't there. There were a lot of ebbs and flows in there. I'm looking for a lot more consistency. There were a lot of time where we (did well) and a lot of times when we couldn't get the third-and-1."

GARDECK OUT AGAINST TITANS

Linebacker Dennis Gardeck had been progressing nicely with his ACL rehab and after practicing full on Wednesday, there was optimism he could play in the opener against the Titans.

But Gardeck suffered a hand injury in Thursday's practice, and Kingsbury not only ruled Gardeck out against Tennessee but said he could miss some time after that.

"He's a bit down but we're hoping it's not too long," Kingsbury said. "We've said we're going to err on the side of caution and could be a blessing in disguise to really let him get healed up over the next couple of weeks."

Wide receiver Antoine Wesley was also declared out, and was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. For the Titans, linebacker David Long (hamstring) is out while kicker Sam Ficken (groin), tight end Tommy Hudson (hamstring), cornerback Chris Jackson (hamstring) and wide receiver Josh Reynolds (foot) are all questionable.

FOOTBALL WITHOUT FITZ

Humphries said it is still weird not to have wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald around but he acknowledged the lack of an official retirement announcement has his attention.

"I don't believe any of it until the season is over," Humphries said. "I feel like Larry has enough pull where he can come back in Week 17 and hang out with us and be with us for the playoff run. I'm not believing the not-playing-football until the season is over. And even then I wouldn't be surprised if he came back next year."

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