GLENDALE, Ariz. — It was Chris Johnson Day at Cardinals training camp Tuesday as the team welcomed its newest running back into the fold with a padded practice.
Johnson was one of eight running backs to practice Tuesday, which is an impressive number when you think about just how injured the position has been.
In terms of fans, there have been noticeably fewer as camp has worn on. Is it because people finally got a chance to see the team play in a game Saturday, or is it just fatigue setting in as everyone waits for the season to start? Whatever the reason, while fans may not be showing up in droves, the players and coaches press on.
As mentioned above, the Cardinals had eight healthy running backs Tuesday. Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, Kerwynn Williams, Paul Lasike and Robert Hughes were joined by David Johnson, Chris Johnson and Marion Grice.
Justin Bethel intercepted a Carson Palmer pass that was intended for Larry Fitzgerald and also bounced off of Tyrann Mathieu’s hands. Safety Tony Jefferson also picked off the starting QB one time. Rashad Johnson, another safety, jumped a route and knocked a ball away.
Cornerback Shaq Richardson, formerly of the University of Arizona, came up with a pick at the goal line.
Palmer connected with TE Ifeanyi Momah for a TD on a third-down play in the red zone. He also hit receivers John Brown and J.J. Nelson on some nice deep balls.
Logan Thomas connected with TE Gerald Christian for a TD in red zone work.
Kareem Martin was able to knock down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Momah’s size/speed combination was on full display again, as he was able to show how linebackers will struggle to defend him on a pass down the seam.
Receiver Ryan Spadola dropped a perfect deep ball from Drew Stanton that would have gone for an easy touchdown.
Guard Mike Iupati left the field with a trainer with about 25 minutes left in practice.
There were a handful of plays where it looked like pressure would have got to the QB before the throw.
Penalties have been a point of contention for head coach Bruce Arians, but it did not appear to me that many flags were thrown Tuesday.
The Injury Report
This list took a hit (which is good, by the way). Not practicing were:
WR Michael Floyd (hand)
CB Darren Woodard (groin)
CB Jonte Green (hamstring)
LB Shaq Riddick (hamstring)
LB Sean Weatherspoon (hamstring)
OT Rob Crisp (knee)
With Iupati out, Ted Larsen stepped in as the first-team left guard.
Chris Johnson saw most of his work with the second-team offense.
When the Cardinals went with three tight ends, the players who lined up were Darren Fells, Ifeanyi Momah and Troy Niklas.
Jerraud Powers was dressed but once again held out of team work. Justin Bethel continued to receive first-team reps.
Bradley Sowell spent another day as the team’s first-team right tackle. D.J. Humphries was again with the second team, with Bobby Massie running third.
When the Cardinals went to a four-man defensive front, Rodney Gunter and Josh Mauro split reps as the extra lineman next to Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker and Corey Peters on the first-team.
This was the first time seeing David Johnson actually practice in pads, and wow, does he look like a big back.
“Just coming in here looking at their offense, they’ve got great guys on the outside that can stretch the field. They’ve got a quarterback that can get it down the field. My whole career I’ve kind of been dealing with eight and nine in the box, and not having a quarterback like Carson and not having receivers out there like that to stretch the field for me. So I just felt like this would be a good situation for me. A team that’s been winning, going to the playoffs. I just felt like this was the right choice.” – Chris Johnson on why he chose Arizona
“If he’s second-string it will save the hell out of him because he ain’t gonna play much.” – Bruce Arians on how much it would save Andre Ellington if Chris Johnson was the lead back
“I don’t want to say something to prove to somebody, I’ll just say something to prove to myself. The situation I went through, I’m just happy to be back playing football on Sundays. Just going to put my best foot forward.” – Chris Johnson on if he has something to prove
“You can’t make a mistake gap-wise, that’s for sure. He’s got a lot of home run balls on his resume, as far as going yard. He’s a tough player; he’s more physical than he looks as far as he can take hits. He’s powerful, but like everyone else knows, it’s the speed that gets people. No matter what angle you’ve got, it’s not a good enough angle when it comes to him.” – Jerraud Powers, who has played against Chris Johnson
The Cardinals will continue their training camp with a walkthrough Wednesday morning. It will then be followed by a practice at 2 p.m.
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