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With David Johnson and Kenyan Drake, Cardinals have luxury at RB

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Call it a crowded position or call it a luxury.

Having two highly-capable running backs will be a good problem to have for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday with the tandem of Kenyan Drake and David Johnson, as the latter of whom expects to play after missing time with an ankle injury. It could create competition. It could allow head coach Kliff Kingsbury to be more creative.

And it allows the Cardinals to continue on with confidence at the position with Chase Edmonds (hamstring) still sidelined.

General manager Steve Keim was asked what his expectation was of Johnson this week when he joined Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“Just what we saw earlier in the season,” Keim said Friday. “[Johnson’s] ability to create those mismatches in the passing game with his size and his speed, the different things that he does that poses problems for defenses. And to be able to have him and obviously the addition of Kenyan Drake, the different things that he can do in our offense, the more weapons that you have, it certainly helps.”

Wolfley suggested to Keim that perhaps Kingsbury could go with both Drake and Johnson on the field at the same time.

“Yeah. I think that that would be a lot of fun to see,” Keim said in response. “Again, whether it’s personnel groupings or just play design in general, I think that Kliff will have a lot of fun. And that’s probably what makes coaching so special for guys like him and Bruce Arians — guys that, to me, are very good offensive minds, is to be able to be creative and to do different things and to take your personnel and get the most out of them.”

The addition of Drake came at a time when both Johnson and Edmonds were on the shelf with ailments, but now with Johnson expected to be back, Drake’s presence makes a once-thin position now a strength once again. That will only become more true once Edmonds returns.

“I think the more competition you have, the better,” Keim said. “I mean, it certainly brings the most out of all of us. I don’t think you can have enough good players. And as I said earlier, not enough weapons. So again, the different things that those guys can do, it gives Kliff a lot of options schematically, as well.”


— On whether he’s surprised Bruce Arians returned to coaching: “I’m not surprised. But I could see in his face when we talked that he was just tired. It was time. But I know he did TV last year and I’m not so sure that he cared for that position so much. But it’s in his blood. That’s what he does. A lot of times we’re creatures of habit. Bruce Arians is a football coach and he’s a hell of a football coach. So I know that he’s happy, he’s in a good place and he’s enjoying his time down there in Tampa.”

— On whether rebounding against Tampa Bay and Mike Evans makes this a big game for Patrick Peterson: “Well, it’s big. It’s obviously big for us, for us to have team success. But again, that’s what that position sort of calls for. It calls for guys that can handle adversity.

“I mean it’s no different than a pitcher that gives up a home run. You’ve got to be able to come back and look adversity in the eye and know that you’ve got to be able to have a short memory. Corners are going to get beat. The great ones just have that short memory and Pat is certainly one of them.”

— On Justin Pugh playing right tackle: “I did have a talk with him. The one thing about Justin is obviously he’s not a selfish player. But when he was signed, the one thing that I did tell him is we were going to put him at guard and we were going to keep him there, because that was one of his concerns in free agency to make sure that he stayed in one spot. Because in New York, he sort of boucned around.

“So I felt bad, but at the same time, he’s a team guy and it certainly showed a lot about his character that he didn’t have a problem jumping out there to right tackle, and did a good job.”


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