David Johnson Update: Rocky Start
In 2016 fans in Arizona were gifted one of the most impressive seasons from a young runner in NFL history. David Johnson electrified the league with over 2,100 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns, both the best marks in football. He was an All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl squad.
The excitement that was built up over the 2017 offseason was stymied early when an injury kept him out of almost the entire season.
In 2018, hopes were high. Sure, the Cardinals had lost head coach Bruce Arians but the new man in charge, Steve Wilks, was seen to be a steadying hand. The addition of Mike McCoy was supposed to maximize both Johnson and the new quarterback’s talent. It didn’t go that way. Through the first seven games of 2018, Johnson only had one game with over 100 yards. The team wasn’t winning. The offense was stagnant, the runs were predictable and the team was a punchline.
Which makes last week’s game all the more encouraging.
David Johnson Update: What to Expect From Here
This upcoming week against Jon Gruden and the Raiders should be another glimpse of the greatness that is one David Johnson. Rookie Nick Chubb broke 100 yards and two touchdowns on this squad on three carries so David Johnson should see 30 touches, easily. This week we should see the passing game utilize the play-action with a much higher rate of success, now that the run game has shown to be a threat. After this week, however, it’s kind of hard to know.
The Cardinals aren’t making the playoffs. That isn’t breaking news. Those exact same Cardinals just gave David Johnson a big extension for a lot of money. With a lost season, it would be justifiable to limit Johnson’s touches to save him for the future. The other side of that argument is Josh Rosen. His development should be the number one priority for this franchise, and he is better (and better protected) with David Johnson on the field.
With a murky future, the best advice to fans is: enjoy it while we can. Byron Leftwich has brought a positive change to this offense since taking over as the OC. Now that DJ has broken out once, expect to see it a few more times.
Cardinals’ faithful should hope for some offensive lineman in free agency and the 2019 Draft. If that is done, it will set a reliable offense between Rosen and Johnson for the foreseeable future.