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Cardinals running back controversy without James Conner

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With the recent news that Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner will be out at least four games and was placed on injured reserve, the football team has to evaluate their other options before they play the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 15.

Currently, the Cardinals have third-string RB Emari Demercado, newly-acquired Tony Jones Jr. and backup Keaontay Ingram if he is cleared to play after being out last week with neck issues.

Replacing Conner will be tough as he has averaged 5.4 yards-per-carry and in five games so far this season, he had 364 total yards.

For Arizona quarterback Joshua Dobbs, he will have to make adjustments to the playbook as he handed the ball off to Conner at least 11 times in the first four games before Conner went down injured in the fifth.

Will Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon give opportunities to the rookie Demercado, throw Jones Jr. right into the action after coming to Arizona or test the waters and see if Ingram is well enough to play?

Here is how these three options could help the Cardinals while Conner is out:

Emari Demercado

Before last Sunday, Demercado had 4 carries for 3 yards.

After Conner went down in the first half with a knee injury, the rookie ran for 45 yards and had 10 carries.

Not only that, he received the ball at the 11 yard-line before breaking through two tackles and scoring his first NFL touchdown in the 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

If Ingram is not healthy enough for the Cardinals’ next game, Demercado showed in practically one-half that he’ll do a job when relied upon.

For fantasy users, there is still questions if he will be the guy to start Week 6 against the Rams, but leagues members are snapping him up quick from the waiver wire because of the potential.

Tony Jones Jr.

After the announcement that Conner was injured, the Cardinals picked up Jones Jr. off waivers from the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 9.

After originally signing with the Saints in 2020, he was waived and claimed by the Seattle Seahawks, then waived and claimed by the Denver Broncos, waived and went back to New Orleans, and now is in Arizona.

In 22 career games, Jones Jr. has started in six and ran for 249 yards with 88 carries.

While New Orleans was dealing with their own running backs, Alvin Kamara and Deandre Miller, on the sidelines, Jones Jr. played in 3 games and scored two touchdowns with 70 yards ran.

It remains to be seen if Arizona truly believes Jones Jr. can make an impact on the team or he will just be another player that will be used as depth sparingly.

Keontay Ingram

Even though he was ruled out of their game against the Bengals, the possibility of Ingram returning is a real possibility.

After suffering issues to his neck, it is expected that he will start against the Rams in Week 6.

As he has been labeled as the backup in his first two NFL seasons in Arizona, Ingram has yet to start in the 15 games that he has played.

When he has featured, Ingram has had 75 yards and 39 carries while registering a touchdown.

Out of the three that could start their next game, Ingram may not since there is no update to his neck situation, at the time of reporting.

BREAKING: Cardinals RB James Conner on injured reserve, to miss 4 games

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports.Β You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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