ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals star David Johnson named one of NFL’s most misused players

Oct 20, 2018, 3:29 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) holds the football during the first day of their ...
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) holds the football during the first day of their NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Cardinals’ David Johnson made a list alongside New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but it’s one you wouldn’t expect to find him on before the start of this season.

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly named Johnson one of the six most “infuriatingly misused players in the NFL” this season, citing his failed usage as “a disservice to one of the best backs in the game.”

Johnson has averaged just 3.2 yards per rush this season, almost a yard less than his career average.

Fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s scheme had a lot to do with his usage issues, according to the article.

The Cardinals have run the ball up the middle more than any team in the NFL, yet are in the bottom third in rush yards per attempt.

Johnson, who broke out in 2016 as a running back and a prolific receiver, hasn’t been a factor in the passing game.

Johnson has lined up as a receiver on just 3.5 percent of his routes this season, down from 20 percent in 2016.

Johnson has just 166 receiving yards and one touchdown this season.

“The futuristic, post-position playmaker is being used like a traditional back, relegated to running simple swing-pass and dump-off routes out of the backfield,” Kelly said.

Beckham Jr., Packers running back Aaron Jones, Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson, Browns running back Duke Johnson and Lions running back Kerryon Johnson were also named to the list.

With McCoy fired in favor of Byron Leftwich, it’s possible Johnson’s usage could more likely mirror 2016, when he rushed for 1,239 yards, had 879 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns.

“This is already a lost season for the 1-5 Cardinals, but by getting Johnson back to what he does best—a little of everything—it could be a huge boon for Rosen and help give this team a much-needed confidence boost down the stretch,” Kelly said.

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