Kingsbury: David Johnson’s lack of touches a need-based decision
Running back David Johnson was officially active against the New York Giants after dealing with injuries over the past two weeks.
Looking at the box score from Sunday, he was anything but.
Johnson received the first carry of the day, running for two yards. From there, however, it was the Chase Edmonds Show, as questions loomed as to what happened to the team’s starting RB.
While there won’t be any definite answers until next week’s injury report comes out, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury provided some clarity to Johnson’s limited role after the game.
“We were just being smart,” Kingsbury told reporters after the 27-21 win. “It was a need-based deal and Chase needed to be spelled but we wanted to make sure Dave came out of there clean for later on in the season.”
Part of that need was third-string running back D.J. Foster being unavailable this week due to a hamstring injury. Arizona kept a limited Johnson active simply to have more than one running back active.
Edmonds made sure Johnson wouldn’t be needed, rushing for 126 yards and three scores on 27 carries, while adding another 24 yards on two receptions.
But even if Edmonds had struggled, Kingsbury’s plan all along was to limit Johnson’s touches as he eyes the rest of the season.
“We would have just kept going with Chase,” Kingsbury said.
With his breakout day, Edmonds has rushed for 287 yards and four scores on 51 touches, while Johnson now sits at 300 yards and two touchdowns on 77 carries in 2019.
Johnson still has a healthy advantage in the passing game, recording 30 catches for 315 yards and three scores compared to Edmonds’ 10 receptions for 100 yards and a TD.
“Dave earned all the money and all the fame that he really has he has and I just didn’t want to see that taken away just because of him going out with an ankle injury,” Edmonds told reporters after the game when asked about Johnson. “I just told him I’m gonna hold it down and hopefully we can get him back for New Orleans because we’re going to need all hands on deck.”