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Carson Palmer: David Johnson a 'Gurley-style runner'

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St. Louis' Week 4 upset victory over Arizona was Todd Gurley's coming out party, as the uber-talented rookie stole the show with the first of four consecutive 100-yard performances.

As the two NFC West rivals prepare to do battle again in Week 13, the Cardinals are ready to unleash a hyper-athletic rookie runner of their own.

With Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington sidelined, coach Bruce Arians is turning his backfield over to David Johnson this week -- and perhaps beyond.

Arians confirmed Friday, per Mike Jurecki of KGME Radio in Phoenix, that the younger Johnson could get up to 25 touches versus the Rams.

The third-round pick has 30 pounds on Ellington and the elder Johnson, without sacrificing speed. Per Next Gen Stats, David Johnson has recorded the fastest speed by a running back as a ball carrier this season (22.05 mph). He also launched a 41.5-inch vertical leap at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"Kind of like a Todd Gurley-style runner," Carson Palmer said of Johnson this week, via ESPN.com, "Fast in the open field and just big, hard to bring down."

Palmer appreciated Chris Johnson's pass protection and ability to read blocks. Although the grizzled veteran had earned a long rope with a sizzling first half of the season, Johnson was holding the ground attack back for the past month -- averaging just 2.88 yards over his last 85 carries.

David Johnson could prove to be a major upgrade in short-yardage situations as well as the passing game.

"He's probably as natural a catcher as there is," Palmer said. "He was a receiver growing up and he just grew too much, too fast. He catches the ball really, really well. He understands concepts well. Great body control."

The former Northern Iowa star is the first player in NFL history to score a touchdown via run, pass and kick return in his first two games. He leads the Cardinals with eight total touchdowns despite his limited role through 11 games.

Judging by NFL Game Pass and the praise coming from teammates and coaches, this backfield is in fine shape with the rookie assuming bell-cow duties.

"You can do a little more than with Chris because of his receiving ability," Arians explained. "He's a combination of Chris and Andre. He's going to be a heck of a player."

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