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Of Snap Counts And Grades: Panthers Game

Conner shoulders RB load; Alford top-graded defender

With Chase Edmonds sidelined, it was obvious the Cardinals were going to have to lean on James Conner. That they did Sunday in the loss to Carolina, with Conner playing 45 of 55 offensive snaps and becoming really the only consistent part of the offense on the day -- scoring his 12th touchdown of the season.

His backup, Eno Benjamin, got in 15 snaps as he continues to find a role. At wide receiver, Antoine Wesley actually outsnapped A.J. Green, 42 to 38, while Rondale Moore only ended up playing 18 snaps. Colt McCoy took 33 snaps before he got hurt, with Chris Streveler playing the other 22.

The offense didn't have a lot of standout grades from Pro Football Focus, not surprisingly. Wide receiver Christian Kirk continues to have his good season with a top offensive grade of 70.0, and the only other player in the "good" range was Benjamin, at 66.5.

Defensively, Zach Allen continues to be the biggest workhorse of the defensive line, posting 65 snaps out of 75 defensive plays. Newcomer Zach Kerr played 24 snaps after just signing, while the outside linebacker breakdown was Chandler Jones at 50, Markus Golden at 33, Devon Kennard at 18 and Dennis Gardeck at 10. The snap count was much closer this week between Tanner Vallejo and Zaven Collins, with Vallejo at 26 and Collins at 23 defensive snaps.

As much as the Cards struggled against the run, maybe it wasn't a shock that the three lowest graded defenders were inside linebackers (Vallejo, Collins, Isaiah Simmons) although Jordan Hicks stood out with a 71.0 grade. Cornerback Robert Alford actually had the best mark at 81.2, with Kennard at 72.2 and safety Jalen Thompson -- who had an interception -- at 70.5.

RB James Conner runs away from a defender in a 2021 home game against the Panthers