Reporters' Notebook

Reporters' Notebook: Johnson ready to run wild?

As the 2016 NFL season gets into full swing in Week 1, NFL Media's network of reporters gets you up to speed with the hottest news and notes from across the league, including:

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ARIZONA CARDINALS: Johnson ready to run wild? The Cardinals had the top overall offense last season and set a franchise record for scoring (489 points, an average of 30.6 per game). How do they top that? Like everyone else, the Cardinals' offensive sage -- assistant head coach/offense Tom Moore -- wants to see what running back David Johnson can do for an encore after his dazzling rookie season.

"He had a good camp," Moore said. "He'll have the same role as he had last year, but the thing is his improvement, and to keep getting better. The other two backs, the combination of all three, I think they make each other better, the competition."

Among all players who started at least five games last season, Johnson averaged the most yards from scrimmage per game as a starter (131.6 yards). He took over the starting running back role for the final five games after injuries to Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson, but he wound up leading the Cardinals with 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one kickoff return.

Before the injuries forced him to remain more often in a running back role, the Cardinals had split Johnson out wide or used him as the slot receiver. General manager Steve Keim went so far as to compare Johnson's receiving skills to those of Marshall Faulk, which has only heightened expectations for what Johnson might contribute this year. Even Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Johnson this week as a receiver with run-after-the-catch ability, the strength to break tackles and the speed to separate from defenders. But Belichick, a student of the game's history, stopped short of comparing Johnson to Faulk.

"That's putting the bar pretty high with him," Belichick said.

How will Palmer shake his playoff disappointment? When last we saw Carson Palmer in a game that counted, it was unsightly. After having the best season of his career at age 35, with 4,671 passing yards and 35 touchdowns, he had six giveaways, including four interceptions, in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Carolina Panthers.

According to NFL.com research, only two other quarterbacks -- Jake Delhomme in a 2008 Divisional Round game and Brett Favre in a 2001 Divisional Round game -- had such extensive playoff meltdowns in terms of giveaways. Delhomme was never the same after his; Favre, of course, rallied for more greatness in his career. The way Palmer goes will determine the fate of the Cardinals, who might have the most talented overall roster in the league.

"He's over it," Moore said. "Carson is a veteran. Carson will handle everything and has handled everything like a true professional. Carson had a great camp, he's a great leader and a great professional. He's a winner."

Moore can't quit. Tom Moore is, at age 77, in his 38th year in the NFL. You can stop asking if he has pondered retirement.

"There's always things that come up and new things, that's what keeps you on your toes," he said. "You've got to make sure you stay up with it. I'm going to go until nobody will hire me. I'm never going to retire. I don't want to. It's too much fun. You can't match the excitement of getting ready for the game. I'm as fired up as can be this week."

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