Despite his struggles last season, now former Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson put the running game back on the map
He came to the Arizona Cardinals via the NFL draft in 2015. He was expected to be a better version of what Andre Ellington provided.
Ellington had his fans in Arizona but his durability started to wear thin. Fans were ready to move on and early on it looked like a golden move to draft Johnson out of Northern Iowa.
He shined early. He became the first rookie ever to score a touchdown via rushing, receiving, and kickoff return in NFL history in the first two weeks of an NFL season. His uniform went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of it.
He rushed for 581-yards and eight touchdowns and another four touchdowns receiving on 36 receptions for 457-yards. His coming out game came in week 14 on NBC’s Sunday Night Football with 187-yards rushing and three touchdowns.
That carried into the 2016 season when he was an MVP candidate rushing for 1239-yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had 80 receptions and four touchdowns receiving.
The downfall started in 2017. He broke his wrist in week one against the Detroit Lions and he was never the same.
Despite that he was able to secure a contract extension in 2018 and people expected big things from him in his return. He had a decent season with 940-yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns and another three receiving touchdowns.
However a number of fans felt like he wasn’t giving his all because of the extension and if he was in 2018, he definitely wasn’t in 2019 when he was benched after a fumble against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. People wanted him out no matter the cost.
Fans finally got their wish a little over a week ago when he was traded to the Houston Texans for receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Some rejoiced, some were still sad to see him go but felt it was for the best, a new beginning for him.
Here’s the thing. The Cardinals started to gain some small level of respectability once again with the running game on Ellington’s arrival in 2013. However that sky rocketed with Johnson’s arrival.
All Cardinals fans should be thankful for what Johnson gave. His heart was in it despite it showing otherwise at times. It just was no longer the right place for him once coach Kliff Kingsbury brought his Air Raid offense to Arizona.
Now we should all be happy for Johnson getting a fresh start in Houston. He didn’t provide the continued flash we wanted to see after 2016 but he certainly will be remembered for the contributions he made.