System could help Arizona Cardinals running backs overachieve in 2023

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) dances during minicamp at the Cardinals Dignity
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) dances during minicamp at the Cardinals Dignity / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

It’s easy to scoff at the Arizona Cardinals running backs when you take one look at the depth chart, as James Conner looks like the only viable piece.

If James Conner stays healthy, we know he’s going to get his yards and fair share of touchdowns. But in a system that will undoubtedly highlight the run, the injury-prone Conner can’t be carrying the ball 300-plus times this season, and someone below him has GOT to step up. And as it stands, the Arizona Cardinals have the following backs behind Conner:

  • Corey Clement
  • Ty’Son Williams
  • Keaontay Ingram
  • Emari Demercado

Neither Clement nor Williams looks like they will be long-term fixtures. Ingram failed to impress last season, and Demercado was a priority rookie free agent who needs to have a good camp to knock off one of the backs listed ahead of him. 

Despite the uninspiring depth at running back, the Cards system may be one that could help no-name players who would otherwise underachieve look good. If that’s the case, then expect one of the above to factor in as a solid RB2 behind Conner. 

Arizona Cardinals system, offensive line will help backs succeed

The Arizona Cardinals offensive line may not rank highly in the eyes of some. But their ideal blend of capable veterans and high-end youth says otherwise. Plus, they have an incredible amount of depth full of players who have experience starting for extended periods in the NFL. 

The sheer talent at offensive line alone could be enough to help catapult the Cardinals backs who would otherwise suffer from a performance standpoint to play better football in 2023. Plus, the Cards will be using a run-heavy, smashmouth scheme in 2023, so they built their offensive line to run block, which will further play into their backs’ hands. 

This isn’t to say someone like Keaontay Ingram will put together a Pro Bowl year by any means, or that Emari Demercado will come out of nowhere. But you can expect a solid committee of backs to put together consistent serviceable performances in this offense thanks to the system and the overall depth at the offensive line when they otherwise wouldn’t under other schemes.