Skip to main content

David Johnson expects to rediscover his 2016 form

The offseason focus surrounding the Arizona Cardinals mostly centers around quarterback Kyler Murray's fit in Kliff Kingsbury's offense. Perhaps a bigger beneficiary of the wide-open scheme Kingsbury plans to employ might be running back David Johnson.

The last time the former Pro Bowl running back spent a season healthy in a dynamic offense was 2016 when he put up more than 2,000 scrimmage yards, 1,239 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards. Johnson believes that in Kingsbury's system, he'll get back to putting up those types of numbers.

"I think it'll be similar to 2016," Johnson said, via the team's official website. "I think I'll be utilized as both a runner and a receiver."

Johnson's ability as a dual-threat dynamo was on display in 2016 under then-coach Bruce Arians. The running back was a matchup nightmare out of the backfield in the passing game and a lethal threat between the tackles and to the edge as a runner. His 2017 campaign was wiped away by injury, and last season he was stuck in an offense that didn't accentuate his skill, but rather sent him crashing into the middle of a black hole on most of his touches.

In Kingsbury's offense, expect Johnson to be used in a variety of ways, from catching passes out of the backfield to being split out at a receiver spot in five-wide sets.

Johnson noted that the Cards are hoping to run an astronomical "90 or 95 plays a game" in 2019, which would give the RB more chances to touch the pigskin. Take that number with a gallon of salt, but the point is that Arizona plans to play much quicker and more efficient this season. (For context, the Baltimore Ravens led the NFL with just over 70 plays per game last season, and in the past 10 seasons the 2012 New England Patriots earned the most plays per game for a year with 74.3. Last year the Cardinals averaged 56.4 plays per game.)

"I think there will be a lot more opportunities to get the ball, a lot more opportunities to score," Johnson said of the new offense.

Entering his fifth season, the 27-year-old running back is hoping to recapture the magic of 2016 that made him an upcoming star. If any offense can highlight his skills, it should be Kingsbury's.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content