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Chase Edmonds Seeks Urgency Down The Stretch

Running back, now healthy, wants to be key component for Cardinals

Running back Chase Edmonds watches the final second tick off the clock in Sunday's loss at Detroit.
Running back Chase Edmonds watches the final second tick off the clock in Sunday's loss at Detroit.

Chase Edmonds has returned to the field, but the Cardinals have always had his thoughtful mindset in the locker room and in his play.

It's the former that stood out Tuesday, when he was asked how the Cardinals might handle the pressure of the final three games, given that they have lost two straight – including a rough one in Detroit last weekend.

Edmonds, who noted at the outset of training camp "we folded" when the Cards failed to make the playoffs, hasn't forgotten.

"I think a lot about last year," the running back said. "When you look over mistakes in your life, look over results in your life, you might have regrets about and you try to bypass it, that's when it bites you in the ass again.

"I'm not going to be that type of player. Last year, we folded, and I was the first one to say that. This year, I think the team needs to focus on that. We need to have more urgency. It is a different situation but at the same time, we've been here before. We know what we have done wrong last year, whether it was uncomfortable situations in meeting rooms, uncomfortable situations player to player in the locker room, it doesn't matter, it needs to be addressed. Guys need to look themselves in the mirror … and embrace the pressure."

Edmonds just wanted to be a part of the pressure. He essentially missed five full games with a high ankle sprain, the first of his life. The work just to relearn how to run – to not could lead to compensation injuries elsewhere on his body – have been painstaking.

Even now, Edmonds said, he still has to learn how to fully trust planting that ankle and getting upfield, which was missing in Detroit.

Yet he had a good return to the field, playing 29 snaps (James Conner had 33) and rushing for 53 yards on his six carries, a gaudy 8.8 average. (He was targeted only once n the passing game, without a catch.)

Edmonds is averaging a league-running-back-best 5.9 yards per carry this season (82-483), although he is six carries short of qualifying at this point. Only Bills QB Josh Allen (6.2) is better.

Edmonds is also second in the league – behind only the Colts' Jonathan Taylor, who visits State Farm Stadium Saturday night – in yards gained over expected. In other words, he's gaining more yards than he should based on the play result and the blocking.

"My approach is to understand the run scheme first, understanding who the line is responsible for, understanding who the unblocked man is when I get the ball, and understanding the gap integrity of the defense," Edmonds said. "Whether or not the analytics say I should be getting certain yards or not, if I can understand what a defense is trying to do to me and I can understand what our scheme and what our goal is on each individual run, it'll get me more success."

With DeAndre Hopkins down, the emergence of Conner (14 rushing touchdowns, 16 total), and the effectiveness of Edmonds, it would make sense to have the running backs play a big role in the Cardinals' attack as the season winds to its conclusion.

"When both guys are playing a significant amount that's when we are playing our best football offensively," coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Edmonds certainly isn't going to argue.

"I'm going to throw a stat out there," Edmonds said. "We've got the second-leading rusher in touchdowns (Conner) and we've got the first rusher in yards per carry (Edmonds) in the same backfield. I feel like, me and James personally, we're going to put this on our shoulders. We accepted it. We embrace the challenge.

"However they rotate it I could care less, as long as we get a little bit of the touches so we can help navigate this offense."