Why running back Chase Edmonds has a lot to prove with Bucs

Edmonds says last season was the worst of his career, split between the Dolphins and Broncos.
Chase Edmonds, who played only five games with Denver last season, will get a chance to be the Bucs' primary third-down back.
Chase Edmonds, who played only five games with Denver last season, will get a chance to be the Bucs' primary third-down back. [ REED HOFFMANN | AP ]
Published April 10

TAMPA — Chase Edmonds thought he had made it. Shortly after signing a two-year, $12.6 million contract with the Miami Dolphins last year, the former Fordham star lost his edge. No longer having to fight for a roster spot the way he did for four seasons in Arizona, he admits he exhaled.

That’s when Edmonds’ career was thrown for a loss.

“You’re like, ‘Okay, things are finally turning around for yourself. Things are finally up and up,’ ” said Edmonds, who signed a one-year contract with the Bucs last month. “And you know, last season was, just straight up, my worst season ever in all my years of football. Performance-wise, it was just not up to my standard at all. It’s very humbling. ...

“I remember coming into the NFL, my chip was just so big, being a (Football Championship Subdivision) guy. I always had to scrap and work for everything. And not that I lost that chip, but Year 3, Year 4, I was playing a lot of snaps. I was really one of the guys in the locker room and the human natural reaction is, like, content, you know what I mean? Like you just don’t have that same (drive).”

After only eight games with the Dolphins, Edmonds had rushed 42 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns, a career-low 2.9-yard average. He also caught only 10 passes for 96 yards and a score.

The Dolphins traded Edmonds along with a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for outside linebacker Bradley Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Edmonds played in only five games with the Broncos, suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 11, and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 22 but appeared in the final three games.

Chase Edmonds admits he let his foot off the gas after signing with the Dolphins and he never really fit into their offensive scheme.
Chase Edmonds admits he let his foot off the gas after signing with the Dolphins and he never really fit into their offensive scheme. [ JOSHUA A. BICKEL | AP ]

In Tampa Bay, Edmonds will get a chance to re-start his career as the team’s primary third-down back.

Second-year pro Rachaad White will take over as the starter from Leonard Fournette, who was released. Fourth-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn will figure into the mix somewhere. But Edmonds has a chance to fulfill a role once held by the oft-injured Giovani Bernard.

Edmonds turns 27 on Thursday. But if you erase the 2022 season, he’s had a pretty productive career. In his final three seasons with the Cardinals, he averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt. As a receiver, he caught 32 passes per season.

“It’s on the film from my first four years doing it,” Edmonds said. “I know I can be an elite third running back in this league, and I’m going be one of those guys where I’m a big-time mismatch with linebackers coming out f the backfield and I’m eager to prove them wrong. I’m eager to get back out there, you know, add that chip back on my shoulder.”

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Edmonds, who trains in Denver, says he hasn’t received a playbook yet from the Bucs. But new offensive coordinator Dave Canales has promised more of a commitment to the running game. Moreover, it should resemble much of what Canales did in Seattle last season. Rookie Kenneth Walker led the team in rushing with 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns. Prior to breaking his leg, running back Rashaad Penny averaged 6.1 yards per carry.

Canales is familiar with Edmonds from their time together in the NFC West.

“He’s seen me at my best; he knows what I can do,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds, however, never got comfortable in the Dolphins offense. At times, he was split out of the backfield as a receiver and struggled catching the ball.

“That was the craziest thing,” he said. “I remember last season, they moved me around so much in terms of training camp, almost like in the slot. I got a mental funk where I let one ball turn into a drop, and two drops turn into three. Prior to that, I had one drop my entire career.

“Obviously, that’s something I was going to address in the offseason and just continue to work.”

What does Edmonds think of his opportunity with the Bucs?

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Tampa, and I’m grateful that I get to play with someone like (quarterback) Baker Mayfield,” he said. “Someone else whose chip is huge. Just to feed off the energy and do things that people expect you to do, individually and collectively as a team.”

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