Last season, the Arizona Cardinals signed free agent running back Chris Johnson to be their feature running back after a lack of a consistent running game the previous season made the team one dimensional. The addition of Johnson made the Cardinals NFL odds favorites in most of their games because they now had a balanced attack to go with their stingy defense.
In the second half of the season, the Cardinals lost Johnson to an injury, which forced the team to turn to David Johnson as their feature back for the rest of the season. David Johnson was a rookie selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and he wasn’t even the team’s first choice. Bruce Arians and his coaching staff had been hoping to select Ameer Abdullah, but the Detroit Lions selected him in the second round of the draft. In an episode of the Amazon series All or Nothing, a reality show that followed the Cardinals throughout the 2015 season, the Cardinals coaches and general manager were clearly disappointed that the Lions picked Abdullah before they could. Despite not being the team’s first choice, David Johnson was determined to prove that he belonged in the NFL and took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to him.
Johnson scored 13 touchdowns as a rookie on 161 touches, which is incredible because some running backs that play the full 16 games don’t score 13 touchdowns in a season. Johnson was spectacular once he was given the chance, despite not getting his first start of the season until week 12, the running back finished with 581 rushing yards, which included an impressive 187 rushing yard game and three touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Johnson displayed great speed and vision, and hit the holes very hard, so the Cardinals offense didn’t skip a beat. The fact that he was great at catching the ball was an extra bonus Carson Palmer was happy about because it provided the quarterback with someone to check down to and also throw deep to. In addition to his running and passing, Johnson is also a great kick returner. The Cardinals are probably thanking their stars that they ended up with Johnson instead of Abdullah, who also ran for over 500 yards, but only had two rushing touchdowns for the Lions.
Johnson, who was considered a project when he was drafted, quickly proved to be one of the best young runners in the league. Going into next season, the Cardinals have what people in sports call a good problem, because Chris Johnson should be back healthy from his injury, and will give the Cardinals two very good running backs that will cause problems for opposing defenses. Since Bruce Arians is an offensive coach, he shouldn’t have a difficult time figuring out the best ways to use his two running backs and help the team make it to the Super Bowl.
The best thing about having two great running backs in the backfield is if one of them gets injured, the other is capable of handling the full load by himself. After coming so close to making the Super Bowl last season, the Cardinals look like they will be the best team in the NFC this year.
Article Submitted by: NewsMediaAndSports