Let's face it, playing for the Arizona Cardinals these days has it's bad points. A squad that has compiled an ugly 4-12 record with just one matchup left in the campaign tends to be ignored by both the media and the league. Pro Bowl recognition, for example, is not easily attained by those who perform exceptionally well for teams with double-digit losses.
That's apparently the case with James Conner, the bruising running back who just happens to be the heart and soul of the Cards offense. Anyone who has witnessed what the 28-year-old has done to would-be tacklers this season would be highly impressed. Week in and week out, Conner has proven that he deserves to be representing Arizona in the NFL's version of the All-Star game.
Unfortunately, and maybe not surprisingly, Conner was snubbed by Pro Bowl voters. There's no doubt that Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams rookie Kyren Williams were highly-deserving of the honor. It's debatable, however, whether the third NFC ball-carrier who got in is having a better year than the highly-productive Conner.
In 16 starts for the Philadelphia Eagles, D'Andre Swift has rushed for 1,049 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. The 24-year-old is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 65.6 yards per contest. On the receiving end, Swift has hauled in 39 passes for 214 yards and another score for Philly.
Conner, in just 12 starts, has racked up 890 yards and six touchdowns for the Cardinals rushing attack. The 6 foot 1, 233 pound battering ram has averaged 4.9 yards per tote, and 74.2 yards per game. Conner also has 23 receptions, 111 receiving yards and an additional two scores on this season's resume.
James Conner may be getting penalized for his employment with the Arizona Cardinals
According to the numbers, Conner has topped Swift in just about every category but total yards amassed. The fact that he was sidelined for four contests appears to be the only reason for that. Swift more than likely got the nod over Conner because the Eagles squad he's employed by has put together a 11-5 record, and are heading to the playoffs.
It's not as if the Pro Bowl is a foreign concept for Conner. Back in 2018, the second-year pro received the honor after totaling 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two years ago, Conner received that distinction again after being credited with 1,127 yards from scrimmage and a whopping 18 scores for the Cards scoring attack.
Fortunately for Conner, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. With a successful offseason by general manager Monti Ossenfort, Arizona could be back in the postseason as early as next year. Then, and only then, will Conner receive all of the awards and accolades that he most definitely deserves.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)