After 3 games, the Arizona Cardinals are 0-2-1. There are many questions as to why they haven’t won a game, but the biggest of all: Where’s David Johnson?
I’ll preface this piece by saying that I know it’s extremely hard to run the football when you’re losing; however, when he has had the opportunity, he hasn’t looked like the David Johnson of old. Once considered a premier do-it-all back, Johnson isn’t even mentioned in the top-10 back in the NFL anymore.
Maybe its scheme; maybe it’s running with caution after his season-ending injury in 2017. Whatever it is, the Cardinals will need Johnson back if they ever want to win their first game in 2019.
Trailing in all 3 games so far certainly doesn’t help his cause. Through 3 games, Johnson has carried the football only 33 times for a measly 133 yards (44.3 yards/game). He’s also averaging 3.7 yards per carry, according to Pro Football Reference.
Putrid numbers for a former All-Pro with aspirations of becoming a 1000-1000 RB.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury inherited a quality, dual-threat back that can take over a game if used properly. Former head coach Bruce Arians knew what he had in Johnson and made him a staple in his offense. It’s time Kingsbury does the same.
His “Air Raid” offense has left a premier back in the shadows so far this season. Albeit the Cardinals have trailed in all 3 games, making it extremely difficult to establish a run game, you still need to try to run the football when you have this type of back.
As a team, the Cardinals are currently ranked 26th in the league in rushing (84.3 yards/game). And last week, QB Kyler Murray had more rushing yards than Johnson. That’s not the way you win football games in the NFC West.
The Cardinals will test their offense against the rival Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at State Farm Stadium. Should they want to win their first game of the season, they’ll need to rely on a heavy run game and a quick start from their offense. Let’s just hope coach Kingsbury remembers that No. 31 is still on the team.