Arizona Cardinals’ running back, James Conner, is being primed to come back from the injured reserve, according to an official statement from the team on Wednesday. The Cardinals are also bolstering their ranks, announcing additions to their practice squad with Andre Baccallia, Austen Pleasants, and Quavian White joining the squad. In light of this development, a 21-day practice period has been initiated for Conner. If he is not activated from the IR by the 29th of November, before the team faces off with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he will sit out the rest of the season.
In the wake of a knee injury Conner sustained during the Cardinals 34-20 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th week, he has missed four successive games. Meanwhile, during five initial starters, Conner accomplished 68 runs covering 364 yards and scored two touchdowns. He further managed to add 30 more yards over eight receptions.
Emari Demercado, an undrafted rookie free agent, has stepped up to take over the running back duties during Conner’s medical leave. With an impressive performance since taking on the baton midgame in the 5th week, Demercado has recorded 45 runs for 192 yards, including one touchdown, and has made seven catches for a total of 36 yards in four games (two starts).
Even during the 6th Week, when the majority of running back exchanges didn’t involve him, Demercado led the Cardinals’ offensive snaps. However, Demercado himself hasn’t been immune to the injury bug, as he recently suffered a toe injury that kept him off the field during the Week 8 match against the Cleveland Browns.
The Cardinals’ game against the Browns concluded in a disappointing 27-0 defeat. During this game, the Cardinals missed both Conner and Demercado, and their offensive line was also in a battered state. This condition proved detrimental for the running game, as well as for the offensive unit as a whole.
During a lackluster match against the Browns, the team managed a mere two yards per carry, summing up to a total of only 41 yards from 21 attempts at rushing. A substantial part of this yardage (28 yards) was contributed by rookie quarterback Clayton Tune. The run game’s absence was one of the significant factors that resulted in the team’s paltry total offense of 58 yards.
This dismal performance marked the poorest offensive output by the Cardinals since 1955, when the franchise was based in Chicago. However, in the midst of these challenges, some promising news for the Cardinals’ offense is that their quarterback Kyler Murray is set to return for the upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons. His return is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the team’s offense.
During a challenging season, the Cardinals are anxiously awaiting the reintroduction of their key players. The return of Conner, timed with Murray’s anticipated comeback, might potentially offer the momentum they need to recover from their current slump, and interestingly reset their offensive dynamics.
Since recording a knee injury during a match against the Bengals, Conner’s absence has been keenly felt in the team’s dynamics. His return not only promises to shore up the Cardinals’ ailing run game but could also play a vital role in retaining a sense of familiarity and continuity in the team’s offensive strategy.
Similarly, rookie free agent Emari Demercado, although undrafted, has shown significant potential in his performances during Conner’s absence. While gaining crucial professional experience, the aspiring player has already carved out a distinctive place for himself in the lineup. His return would be another shot in the arm for the Cardinals’ offense.
The looming deadline for Conner’s return adds a level of urgency and excitement to the preparations for the upcoming games. It’s a race against time, and all eyes will be on Conner as he puts his fitness to the test during the designated 21-day practice window.
The additions to the practice squad in the form of Andre Baccallia, Austen Pleasants, and Quavian White signify the squad’s efforts to bolster their roster in light of the recent spate of injuries. These new players will have a chance to learn and grow, and their contributions could be vital in the games to come.
The Cardinals will face the Pittsburgh Steelers at a crucial juncture. This event will mark a critical point in their season, primarily if they can have Conner back in the lineup. His potential impact on the game is anticipated to be significant, marking a turn of events for the team’s fortunes.
As the Cardinals face these challenges, the team’s optimism for a healthier line in the forthcoming days is undeterred. The anticipated comeback of Kyler Murray against the Atlanta Falcons is set to provide a transformational shift in the Cardinal’s offensive dynamics. Only the days ahead can fully unfold the impact of these awaited returns, but the signs are promising and hope is high in the Cardinals’ camp.