Backup running backs turn in a solid performance for the Arizona Cardinals

The depth at running back behind Arizona Cardinals starter James Conner could turn out to be better than expected.
Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals
Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Throughout the offseason, many Arizona Cardinals fans were clamoring for the club to acquire an experienced ball-carrier who could act as insurance for starter James Conner. Back on August 4th, general manager Monti Ossenfort attempted to address the wishes of the "Red Sea" by signing veteran Marlon Mack. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, and the Redbirds once again found themselves undermanned at the running back position.

On Friday night, backup backs such as Corey Clement, Ty'Son Williams, and Emari Demercado appeared to be out to prove a point during the Cards' 18-17 triumph over the Denver Broncos. Any thought that the organization may have had of adding another reinforcement to the spot may have been put on hold. In fact, the trio's impressive performance in the preseason opener may have put the issue in the rearview mirror for good.

Williams was Arizona's leading rusher versus the Broncos, racking up 51 yards on 10 carries for the offense. Clement also contributed, totaling 15 yards on the ground, and another 13 yards on three receptions. It was Demercado, however, who set the State Farm Stadium crowd into a frenzy on the matchup's final play.

Fantastic effort by a young ball-carrier resulted in a preseason triumph for the Arizona Cardinals

A David Blough to Brian Cobbs touchdown connection with just two seconds left had brought the Cardinals to within one point of tying the Broncos. Trailing by a score of 17-16, Jonathan Gannon elected to go for two in his first organized game as an NFL head coach. Demercado was handed an opportunity to be the hero, and the undrafted rookie didn't disappoint in the least.

After taking a handoff from Blough, Demercado appeared to be stopped well short of the goal line. But while the odds seemed to be stacked against him, the 5 foot 9, 215 pound back was determined to succeed. Demercado kept his legs driving, and managed to find his way into the end zone with the help of some push and pull from a couple of Arizona's offensive linemen.

Though he didn't suit up versus Denver, second-year pro Keaontay Ingram is also a member of the "Big Red" running backs room. There's legitimate hope that the 23-year-old will take a big step forward in his sophomore campaign. It now appears that the squad could be just fine with the options that sit behind Conner on the Cards depth chart.


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