Cardinals’ Chris Johnson not caught up in being the starter
For nine games last year, Chris Johnson got to call himself the starting running back for the Arizona Cardinals. Entering 2016, he doesn’t think the starting title will matter much.
“In our room I don’t really think we have like a solid starting running back, because with this type of offense, we do so many things as a running back,” Johnson told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “(David Johnson’s) got his things that he’s good at and I got my things that I’m good at, and (Bruce Arians) knows how to get both of us the ball.”
Chris Johnson was in the middle of a redemptive season, rushing for three touchdowns and 814 yards in 11 games, before getting injured in Week 12 against the San Francisco 49ers. The next man up was rookie running back David Johnson, who made a late case for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The third-round pick out of Northern Iowa rushed for eight touchdowns and 581 yards, to go along with four receiving touchdowns and 457 yards.
Most of the receiving out of the backfield was done by the rookie, as Chris Johnson only had six grabs for 58 yards all season, but he said that should change in 2016.
“A lot of times when I was in the game, teams knew it was probably going to be a run because you know I didn’t really have a training camp, I was just thrown in and I didn’t really know the playbook like that,” Chris Johnson said. “So, it’s even better this year being able to go through OTAs and an offseason where I actually know the playbook now, and they can put me in the game and I can run basically any play that they call.”
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin confirmed last week that the Cardinals are going to determine their starting running back on a week-by-week and game-by-game basis.
“Being with (Bruce Arians) since 2007, the hot hand always wins,” Goodwin said. “So, if David is killing, Chris falls back a little bit. If Chris is killing it, vice versa. Obviously there is going to be a lead dog starting every game, but to me if some guy is feeling it that day — if Michael Jordan is feeling it, you keep feeding him the ball. If David is feeling it, keep feeding him the ball. If Chris is feeling it, keep feeding him the ball. So, it’s a good problem to have.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any gripe about who gets it the most, because at the end of the day, if we don’t win it, it’s a waste of time.”