Tony Jones Jr. becomes the latest addition to the Arizona Cardinals backfield

The knee injury suffered by James Conner this past Sunday has prompted the Arizona Cardinals to make a move at running back
New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The knee injury suffered by James Conner this past Sunday has prompted the Arizona Cardinals to make a move at running back

Anyone who's been watching the Arizona Cardinals thus far in 2023 would have to agree that James Conner is the heart and soul of the offense. In his five starts for the Redbirds, the running back is averaging an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. Conner has amassed 364 rushing yards, a number that ranks him eighth-overall in the National Football League.

All of that is fantastic, obviously, but Conner's inability to avoid injury has hindered the Cards. Not one time in his professional career has the 6 foot 1, 233 pounder remained healthy for an entire season. Coincidentally, any fans who were hoping for Conner to put together a perfect attendance record this year are more than likely going to be disappointed once again.

Much to the chagrin of the "Red Sea", the hard-running Conner banged up his knee during last weekend's 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was announced on Tuesday that the 28-year-old will be placed on the injured-reserve list, meaning he'll miss at least the next four contests. The unfortunate news regarding Conner would now force the front office to find a reinforcement for Arizona's suddenly-depleted position.

Arizona Cardinals will attempt to replace James Conner with a mixture of youth and experience

Actually, it appears that Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort knew what the deal with Conner was long before the rest of us. On Monday, the organization claimed running back Tony Jones Jr. off of the waiver wire, just hours after the 25-year-old was released by the New Orleans Saints. What role will the 5 foot 11, 224 pounder play in a "Big Red" offense that likes to lean on the run?

Jones came into the NFL back in 2020 when he signed as an undrafted free agent with New Orleans. In two separate stints with the club, the former University of Notre Dame product totaled 295 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns for the Saints. In between, Jones had a cup of coffee with the Seattle Seahawks, appearing in four games last season for the Cards' division rival.

Conner's setback comes at a somewhat inopportune time for the Arizona scoring attack. It's already been determined that Keaontay Ingram, the squad's second-year youngster, will miss this coming Sunday's clash with the Los Angeles Rams. It will be the third-consecutive absence for the 23-year-old, who was also sidelined for the meeting with the Bengals.

There are three additional ball-carriers in the mix, one being an undrafted rookie who filled in admirably for a hobbled Conner in Week 4. Emari Demercado carried the rock 10 times for 45 yards and a score on the ground, and also hauled in a pass for another 12 yards versus Cincinnati. Veteran Damien Williams to signed to the Cardinals practice squad last week, while 28-year old Corey Clement also remains an option.


(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)