The Arizona Cardinals need to form a running back committee
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals offense came to life on Sunday, and is it any coincidence that their RBs 2 and 3 were involved more on offense?
Through four games, Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner has averaged a paltry 3.2 yards per carry and 145 rushing yards. Do the math, and he’s on pace for 616 yards and just four rushing touchdowns.
Conner, 27, is reaching the age where most running backs’ skills start to diminish. And despite his 15-touchdown season in 2021, Conner still averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and 752 rushing yards. Sure, he split time with Chase Edmonds, but he wasn’t necessarily good enough to warrant a trip to the Pro Bowl, which he ended up getting anyway.
Yesterday, the Cardinals utilized Eno Benjamin, who ran for 35 yards on five carries. Benjamin had a long of 15 yards, giving him 20 yards on four of his additional carries, averaging 5.0 yards per attempt. Darrel Williams also saw his number of touches increase, logging four for 19 yards, good for 4.75 yards per carry.
The result? A win for your Cardinals and a convincing one against a team that has given them nothing but trouble for nearly a decade.
The Arizona Cardinals need a strong running back committee
I’ve been saying it for quite some time: James Conner is not featured back material. But of course, his 15 touchdowns overshadowed his otherwise lack of production in 2021. I will say, however, that he is sound committee material, especially in short yardage situations.
I’m also not convinced that either Benjamin or Williams would fare any better as an RB1. Instead, you are looking at a fantastic committee who gave the Cardinals 110 of their 132 rushing yards on Sunday. They combined for 24 carries, so doing the math, they averaged 4.58 yards per rush, allowing things to open up for the passing game.
Overall, this trio of backs are great to have around, as long as they share the rock at running back. Conner enjoyed his most productive game this season on Sunday with Benjamin and Williams stepping in to get more touches, and that should be a common theme moving forward.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference and ESPN.com)