After getting hurt in week one of the 2017 NFL season, David Johnson failed to appear in another game for the Arizona Cardinals. One of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL, Johnson is ready to return from a wrist injury and dominate in 2018.
David Johnson Bound for Bounceback 2018
David Johnson is arguably the most versatile player in the NFL. While there are players like Le’Veon Bell and Alvin Kamara who would contest that statement, Johnson stands out in three facets of the game. In the return game, Johnson is one of the most electric returners in football. Everyone knows his capabilities as a runner, and he is one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL.
As witnessed last season, the Cardinals rely heavily on their running backs to make plays and spark their offense. It was shown by the 32-year-old Adrian Peterson‘s workload during his time in the desert. Despite his age and injuries, Peterson still carried the ball 129 times in six games of action for Arizona. Peterson single-handedly carried Arizona to wins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, when in those two games he had a combined 63 carries. Johnson will power Arizona to more victories in 2018 in a similar fashion, as he will get plenty of touches with a new quarterback and new offensive scheme next season.
As mentioned above, Arizona will have a new quarterback in 2018 with the retirement of Carson Palmer. Whether this quarterback is a free agent like Kirk Cousins or a rookie like Lamar Jackson, they will have to learn what will be a new scheme for them in Arizona. The next Cardinals quarterback will almost certainly rely on David Johnson to handle most of the heavy lifting on offense. With a receiver core of the ageless Larry Fitzgerald and mediocre receivers like John Brown and J.J. Nelson, Johnson will find himself heavily involved in the offense simply because he is far better than most of the other playmakers in Arizona.
Johnson is easily the best playmaker on the Arizona offense. No offense to Fitzgerald, but he cannot carry an offense anymore as a wide receiver at age 34. While he will still be a dynamic receiver, he won’t be able to carry the offensive load like Johnson can. New head coach Steve Wilks certainly knows this and will look to keep Johnson as the focal point of the Cardinals offense.
In the end, as long as Johnson’s wrist injury doesn’t linger, he should have a great chance of winning the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award. Many forget that Johnson was a First Team All-Pro running back in 2016, and combined for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing and receiving that season. In 2015, Johnson played a key role in the Cardinals run to the NFC Championship Game. In 2018, with a fully healthy David Johnson and a new starting quarterback, the Cardinals could win the extremely competitive NFC West division and make a playoff run.