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Cardinals’ running back group ranked top 10 heading into 2016

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson during OTAs. (Photo by Adam Green)

The emergence of David Johnson revolutionized the Arizona Cardinals’ offense last season.

Johnson stepped up big after Chris Johnson went down in Week 12 with a broken tibia, as the rookie rushed for 99 yards and caught a touchdown pass against the then-St. Louis Rams in his first start the following week.

Johnson exploded onto the scene two weeks later in Philadelphia, amassing 187 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while catching four passes for 42 yards.

His performance at the end of last season, coupled with Chris Johnson returning and Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams being key reserves, has the Cardinals’ running back group ranked No. 10 in the NFL according to Bleacher Report’s Russell S. Baxter.

In 2015, the Arizona Cardinals ground attack was brought to you by Johnson and Johnson.

Thanks primarily to this duo, the Cardinals finished eighth in the NFL in rushing, one year after ranking next-to-last in the league in the same category. Reserves Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor have starting experience, and Kerwynn Williams has shown his ability when called upon. This group gives head coach Bruce Arians numerous options.

Being able to effectively run the ball in the playoffs and have a multi-dimensional offense will play a large factor in the team’s Super Bowl aspirations. Taking pressure off quarterback Carson Palmer will be huge next season.

The teams whose running back groups are ranked ahead of the Cardinals are the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.

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