The Cardinals' backfield is about to get even more crowded.
Running back Chase Edmonds practiced Monday and is expected to play Sunday against the Rams. Edmonds has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 8 against the Saints, and his return will give coach Kliff Kingsbury three intriguing options at running back.
Kenyan Drake has averaged 5.2 yards per carry in three games since being acquired from the Dolphins, while David Johnson is the highly-paid former All-Pro who is the best pass-catcher in the group.
"It's a good problem to have to have three talented running backs," Kingsbury said.
Johnson had been the Cardinals' starter for several years but didn't get a touch in nine snaps against the 49ers last time out. Kingsbury said there is "definitely" a way to integrate Drake, Edmonds and Johnson into the game plan against Los Angeles.
"Three guys like that that can help your team a bunch of different ways, it's on us as an offensive staff to find different ways to get them involved and get them the football," Kingsbury said.
The Cardinals play at a faster pace than most NFL teams, which is why Edmonds believes all three could have a role.
"If you're running 60 plays per game, probably not, but we're looking to get it up into the 80/90 range," Edmonds said. "It'll be fine, man. We're all talented. We're all selfless. It's not going to be a problem at all."
Edmonds said he will be ready for whatever is asked of him on Sunday, including a return to special teams if needed. The second-year back is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season with five total touchdowns.
"Whatever way I can help this team win football games, that's going to be satisfying to me," Edmonds said.
TAKING AIM AT PASS DEFENSE IMPROVEMENT
While there is a lot of optimism around the Cardinals’ offensive progress, the team has lost four in a row in large part due to the continued pass defense struggles. The team is last in passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed in 2019.
Cornerback Byron Murphy said the coaching staff showed the defense the numbers, and it's something the group is intent on fixing.
"That's very motivating for us, because that's not where we want to be," Murphy said.
Kingsbury said the defense, offense and special teams have each dialed in on a weak spot they hope to rectify the rest of the way.
"It's important to show improvement over these last five," Kingsbury said. "We can't change what happened in the past, and that's what we've talked about. Let's just be better."
A REFRESHING BYE WEEK FOR THE CARDINALS
The late bye week may not have been ideal, but the Cardinals are in a good spot health-wise for the stretch run. Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (foot) was the only player not seen during the open portion of practice on Monday. The first injury report of the week will come on Wednesday.
"I feel recharged and I think all the players do," Kingsbury said. "We had a good day (Monday) and guys are feeling healthy. It was a good week."
Wide receiver Christian Kirk said the team is ready to get rolling again after the much-needed break.
"During the season you get about one day of recovery (per week), so the five days (off) recharges you mentally as well," Kirk said.