Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, as most know by now, sat this past Sunday in the victory over St. Louis. Many are questioning whether James’s season, or possibly his career, is over? Amazing what a few games will do for someone.
We all knew rookie Tim Hightower was going to be the guy. Back in August, I called him the player to watch for. However, his rise to the top of the Cardinals running back food chain as been quick and rather easy. Sure Tim Hightower did some of the work, but Edge really has no one to blame but himself.
Edge was classy last week and didn’t provide any disparaging comments towards the Cardinals for the decision to sit him on the bench. He could be seen sitting on the bench talking to Hightower. I’m sure there is no one more excited for the success of Hightower more than Edge, even if it does come at his expense. Now, I certainly think Edge is going to see the ball plenty of times over the next 8 games. It was not coach Ken Whisenhunt’s plan to sit him in St. Louis for the entire game. However, how could you not make that call the way Hightower performed?
Edge has been prone to put the ball on the ground, something experts worried Hightower would do if given the chance to play more often, given his preseason performance. Edge dances around much too often. I love the power running game from Edge, but Hightower, although he doesn’t have blazing speed, can hit the holes quick and if he can breakaway past the defensive line, anything can happen, as evidenced by Hightower’s 30 yard scamper untouched last Sunday.
The Cardinals will face a couple of tough defenses coming up in New York and Philadelphia. However, expect him to come out and shine once again against San Francisco and Seattle over the next two weeks. Like I said, Edge will get his carries again. He probably won’t see more than 10 carries a game the rest of the way unless something happens to Hightower. Hightower is your goal line guy too, so expect the bulk of the scoring on the ground to come from him.
I still like Edge’s experience and his leadership, so he is still a valuable ingredient to this team as they drive towards the playoffs. He is under contract through 2009. I think he’d still be valuable next season too, in the same limited role. I don’t think that’s what Edge wants, so I find it highly unlikely he will be here next season, but I’d sure like him to be. I like what he does for Hightower, who has said he looks up to him. Let’s hope little Cards fans have a back in Hightower to look up for years to come.