Chris Johnson: Future as Starter for Cardinals?


Chris Johnson is back in the saddle again. The former East Carolina running back was the starter for the Arizona Cardinals against the Chicago Bears and will be the starter again for week 3.

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In the late nineties, the North Carolina Tar Heels had a two back system with running backs Curtis Johnson and Leon Johnson. That system was good enough that both backs ran for a thousand yards in the same year. The Cardinals now have the Johnson & Johnson system in name, if not yet in results. Chris Johnson’s partner in the backfield is rookie David Johnson.

Chris Johnson’s day against the Bears was not among his most impressive. He averaged just 3.6 yards on twenty carries for seventy rushing yards total. The previous week, Johnson had half as many carries and produced half as many yards so that his production value has remained the same.

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While we should celebrate that Johnson, who was shot earlier this year in his shoulder, is getting a chance to start, we should remember that he will need to perform to keep that assignment. Already he is being outshone by young David Johnson. David Johnson had a kick return for 108 yards and a score. It was also David Johnson who provided the sole rushing touchdown in the game for the Cardinals.

In the end, Chris Johnson will get his opportunity but he should be used to do things that he does best. Those things are running straight and fast. He also is a good option to catch footballs out of the backfield. If Coach Bruce Arrians is smart, his usage of Johnson will include screen passes. That fit well with defenses that will be trying to rough up an immobile Carson Palmer at quarterback.

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