Running back James Conner spent the past three seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers' workhorse when healthy. Now the 26-year-old joins an Arizona Cardinals club where he'll share a backfield with Chase Edmonds.
During a recent interview with On The Fly with Lisa Matthews, Conner gushed about Edmonds' ability as both a runner and pass catcher and said together they can make a fierce duo.
"I just see us as a tandem, and I think we can be one of the best in the league," Conner said. "He's been waiting for an opportunity, even though he has the body of work and a resume, but to show more. I know he's anxious to show more, I'm anxious to show. With both of us together back there with K-1 (QB Kyler Murray), weapons on the outside, interior line, tackles, everybody. There's opportunity here. Me and Chase, we gonna feed off each other and keep this thing rolling."
Last season, Conner looked slowed, generating 721 yards and six TDs on 169 attempts in a Steelers offense that finished dead last in rushing. He'll look to bounce back, particularly after injuries hampered him starting early in the campaign.
Edmonds proved last year he can be an explosive playmaker when given a chance. Kliff Kingsbury trusting the back as Arizona's primary backfield pass catcher underscores Edmonds' importance to the offense. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound back has never been given a chance to carry the load full time. His 97 carries last season were a career-high after generating 60 rushes each of his first two seasons. How Conner looks early in the season will determine whether Edmonds is once again primarily used in passing situations or whether he has a chance to blast past the 100-carry mark for the first time in his career.
Conner noted that outside of his between-the-tackles rushing ability, he brings leadership to Arizona.
"Especially in the backfield, I'm the older guy with the most leadership -- Year 5 for me," the RB said. "So I just think I can bring leadership here. And just hard-nosed football, but also get involved in the passing game, as well. Hard-earned yards, but also just big explosive plays, alongside with all the other guys. Just my presence."
The Cards didn't use a draft pick on a back, instead feeling comfortable with Edmonds and Conner as the primary duo. Arizona is counting heavily on Conner erasing last year's struggles behind better blocking.