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Bruce Arians says Chris Johnson is still getting back to game speed

Arizona Cardinals' Chris Johnson warms up during an NFL football training camp Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson started against the Dallas Cowboys, but did not look like the same player that stepped up against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.

After starter Kerwynn Williams averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on 11 attempts, Johnson came in and averaged four yards a carry on 11 attempts in the first game without starting back David Johnson.

But in Week 3 against Dallas, the 32-year-old Johnson touched the football 12 times, only averaging 1.4 yards per carry while gaining a total of 17 yards.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians attributed Johnson’s struggles against the Cowboys to the looks their defense presented.

“(Dallas) was a totally different defense,” Arians said Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta“This is a penetrating 4-3, with guys looping and their reads were a little bit different. He had some looks that looked like bounces, and they weren’t bounces. There was actually a backside cut on one (play).”

After Johnson was initially cut by the Cardinals on Sept. 1, they resigned the experienced back after David Johnson was injured in Week 1.

Chris Johnson, who only played in four games last season, is closing in on 10,000 rushing yards for his career. But Arians said Johnson is still getting back to game speed.

“Dallas presented a totally different defense than Indy, where he could do his thing,” Arians said.

But does Arians anticipate a change in the depth chart at running back for Sunday’s divisional showdown against the San Francisco 49ers?

“Chris will start,” Arians said. “Andre (Ellington) will do his thing on third down, and we will just see how the game goes as far as Chris and Kerwynn.”

According to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Mike Jurecki, Ellington garnered 60 percent (49) of Arizona’s snaps against Dallas, while Johnson recieved 38 percent (31). Elijhaa Penny had two snaps, and Williams received one.


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