Arizona Cardinals: Running game fine with Johnson and Williams


The running game will be just fine in the hands of rookie David Johnson, and Kerwynn Williams.

Earlier this week is that starting running back, Chris Johnson, fractured his tibia and would miss the rest of the regular season and the earliest he could return to play is in the Super Bowl, which is a strong possibility. Former starter, Andre Ellington, is nursing a turf toe injury and will most likely sit out in this week’s game against the Rams. With the top 2 backs out, this pushes rookie third round pick David Johnson into the starting and also results in the promotion of Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad to the active roster.

While the injury to Johnson and Ellington are unfortunate, they won’t stop this team from competing. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN, who has a reputation for unpopular opinions among the Cardinal fan base, recently wrote an article that without Chris Johnson the Cardinals will no longer have a running game or a shot at the Super Bowl. I 100% disagree with Weinfuss as this is far from the truth. While Johnson and Ellington helped Arizona’s ground game, it wasn’t the focal point of the offense. Quarterback Carson Palmer was and still is.

David Johnson was drafted as insurance for Andre Ellington due to his lack of durability, and  it’s now time to cash in. While Johnson hasn’t made many highlights rushing the ball this season (he did run for 2 touchdowns against the Lions in Week 5), he has made several plays on special teams and in the running game. In his first NFL game, Johnson took a screen pass 55 yards to the house to seal a win against the New Orleans Saints. In Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Johnson’s play making ability is evident, and now we will get to see him create more plays in the role he was drafted for; to run the ball. Johnson’s highest rushing totals came against the Bears where rushed for 42 yards on 5 carries.

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With the promotion of Johnson as the feature back, the Arizona Cardinals also promoted 3rd year running back Kerwynn Williams from the active roster to serve as Johnson’s back up. Williams, a fan favorite, as performed very well in his limited opportunities. Last year alone, Williams ran for 100 yards against the Chiefs, 75 yards against the Rams, and 67 yards against the 49ers. Myself, along with many others, were surprised when the Arizona Cardinals originally cut Williams at the end of the preseason. While he didn’t pile up the stats he showed that he was still able to make plays. That being said, it’s nice to see Williams getting opportunities in meaningful games.

While the losses of Johnson and Ellington are unfortunate, the Arizona Cardinals have sizable depth at every position, and injury should be no excuse for lack of effort or poor play. On that note, in terms of the running game, I expect David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams will be able to step up against the Rams, and for the rest of the season, and make plays for this team.