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Chase Edmonds More Than An Insurance Plan

Backup running back pushing for a role on offense

RB Chase Edmonds hopes to pair with RB Kenyan Drake as a dynamic duo in the Cardinals' backfield.
RB Chase Edmonds hopes to pair with RB Kenyan Drake as a dynamic duo in the Cardinals' backfield.

Kliff Kingsbury has a lot of mouths to feed on offense.

Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald will demand a large share of the passing game volume. Kenyan Drake is the clear featured back after a dazzling eight-game run to end 2019.

Chase Edmonds, though, should not be counted out.

Kingsbury spoke glowingly of the No. 2 running back on Wednesday, sharing that the Cardinals may not have traded for Drake last season if Edmonds stayed healthy following a 126-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Giants.

"We felt that confident in what Chase brings," Kingsbury said. "When he had his opportunities, he shined, and he continues to shine. He can catch it, run it, block, play special teams, and he's really bright football-wise. He's everything you want."

Edmonds carried the ball 60 times for 303 yards and four touchdowns last season, an impressive 5.1 yards-per-carry clip, but nearly half of his attempts came in Week 7 against New York – after David Johnson was hurt and before Drake joined the team.

Edmonds had seven carries the next week against the Saints before injuring his hamstring, and had just one more on offense the rest of the way.

"He's competitive, so I know he wasn't happy about it," Kingsbury said.

With Johnson now in Houston, Edmonds is the clear No. 2 option at running back, although it's uncertain how many touches he will receive. Drake was so good last year that Kingsbury rarely gave others rushing attempts down the stretch.

"I know when my number is called, I'll be ready," Edmonds said. "I'll be ready to have whatever role they want me to have on this offense. It's a team game. Kliff, he's a mastermind. He's a wizard. He will be able to figure it out."

The Cardinals want to play fast in 2020, which could help Edmonds' push to make the backfield a 1-2 punch instead of a lone Drake haymaker. Kingsbury seems comfortable using both interchangeably.

"When you have two that you think can both do it at a high level, you can keep those guys fresh and healthy," Kingsbury said. "That's what we're shooting for, finding great roles for both guys and helping the offense be as productive as possible."

Edmonds and Drake have developed a strong bond. It began the week Drake arrived, as Edmonds helped him cram for a Thursday Night Football debut against the 49ers three days after the trade.

The pair roomed together at the team hotel the night before the game.

"We started talking ball, talking life, and it was unique to me how K.D. came here (following) his situation in Miami where he was the backup guy, young, learning, trying to get his opportunity to shine," Edmonds said. "He comes here and takes full advantage of it."

Edmonds doesn't have the same clear path to playing time, but he and Drake are focused on being a dynamic duo.

"We really mesh well on and off the field," Drake said. "I feel like when he comes in the game and spells me, or vice-versa, we don't really miss a beat."

The Cardinals clearly expect a big year from Drake after making him one of the higher-paid running backs in the NFL this offseason. But that doesn't change Kingsbury's affection for Edmonds.

"We all feel like he's a starting running back in this league, and he does, too," Kingsbury said.

Images from Monday's practice at State Farm Stadium, presented by Hyundai.