James Conner, workhorse running back. It doesn't feel like there are a lot of those guys anymore.
But early on, the Cardinals are using Conner and not much else at the position -- which right now, has only three options on the roster: Conner, Keaontay Ingram and Emari Demercado.
"We are going to ride the hot hand and we felt (Conner) was running the ball really well so we wanted to get him carries," offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said, "but there are a lot of good players in that room. So I have no problem if some games it'll come up different based on flow or feel of the game or looks we get. It's not a big concern of mine, but I feel like James is fully capable of handling that."
Two games is much to small of a sample size to know what will happen over the season, but so far Conner has averaged 21 touches a game, which would be 357 over a 17-game season -- by far surpassing Conner's career-high of 270, set in 2018. Then again, the most games Conner has ever played in a season is 15, and has missed an average of three games a year in his first six seasons.
Conner is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season and second as a Cardinal. But he crossed the 100-yard barrier early in the third quarter when the Cardinals jumped ahead, 28-7, and had just three yards on his final five carries after that.
Ingram has seven carries total this season, but has had negative yardage on four of them. Demercado's lone carry also lost yardage. Veteran Corey Clement is on the practice squad and looked solid in preseason, but he has not been active for a game yet.
Petzing said the distribution of the playing time is a combination of factors, including decisions by himself and running backs coach Autry Denson.
"There is some of 'this is a play he runs really well, we want him in there for it' and 'this is how many reps we'd like for him to get in a game'" Petzing said. "If you are in a really long series, he may get tired. 'I need two or three plays off to catch my breath.' Great, let's get those other guys in there. It's a balance."