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The Workload Of James Conner

Running back, dealing with ankle injury, should get help from Edmonds soon

Kliff Kingsbury knows the Cardinals have leaned hard on running back James Conner.

"We've played him too many snaps since Chase (Edmonds) has been out, but he's held up and done a tremendous job with those opportunities," Kingsbury said. "I think it will be good for James to get Chase back in there and take some of those snaps off of him."

The hope, of course, is that Edmonds is back this week against the Lions -- Edmonds remains practicing but on Injured Reserve -- and it may be more important now that Conner has an ankle injury. (The injury was suffered at the end of the Rams game, but that was about an unfortunate tackle and not because of Conner's heavy load.)

Since Edmonds went down after the first offensive snap at San Francisco -- so essentially five games -- Conner has had 109 total touches, or 21.8 per game. That's on the high end of what backs have these days (backs not named Derrick Henry.) The total statistics: 85 carries for 303 yards, averaging 3.6 yards per carry, plus 24 receptions (on 26 targets) for 269 yards. He has scored eight total touchdowns in that time.

Against the Rams, he played all but three offensive snaps.

It's not that Conner can't handle it. He's had similar five-game stretches each of the past three seasons with the Steelers. But the Cardinals would like a fresh Conner for the postseason.

Still, it's nice to have such a workhorse. No, his rushing stats aren't gaudy. But in wins, Conner is just eating late clock a lot of the time when the defense knows it's a run up the middle. A lot of guys talk team-first, but Conner is truly that guy -- and why the heavy workload has made sense.

RB James Conner makes a move with the ball in a home 2021 game against the Rams