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Arians: David Johnson earned right to be the 'bell cow'

The Arizona Cardinals sit in an enviable position, with three running backs who, when healthy, could be starting.

Combining second-year stud David Johnson, the return of Chris Johnson and a healthy Andre Ellington create a stable rotation for coach Bruce Arians. But after David Johnson's explosion down the stretch last season, it's clear he'll be the first back to carry the workload.

"David's earned the right now to be the bell cow," Arians said, via "Everybody's got to take it from him. But Chris ran for 800 (yards) and probably would have had 1,200 had he stayed healthy. Andre can break the game open."

Chris Johnson's return -- for less money even -- was somewhat a surprise (and a testament to Arians), because it was blatantly clear David Johnson would get a chance to be a three-down back. Just 24, the second-year back has rare skills to be a between-the-tackles runner, speed to get to the edge, vision on the second level and is very good in the passing game. Of his 581 yards, 442 came in the final five games of the 2015 season. He also added 216 receiving yards over that five-game span.

Chris Johnson should be insurance if David gets dinged and Ellington will provide a home run threat.

"It's fun to have those guys back together," Arians said. "Andre's healthy. It'll be a great competition in our backfield this year."

Unless David Johnson stumbles out of the gate or gets injured, expect the competition to be for backup snaps.

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