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Posts tagged with "David Johnson"

Veteran running back Chris Johnson is on a mission to prove to the Arizona Cardinals that it was a mistake to release him

The Arizona Cardinals must’ve had their reasons. Perhaps it was the fumbling by Chris Johnson that got him released by the club. Maybe it was the fact that the running back would soon be turning 32, an age that most playing the position are hitting a wall.

All of that mattered very little when Cardinals’ star David Johnson suffered a severe wrist injury during the season opener. The two to three month prognosis called for a roster move to be made. Right then and there, it was obvious who general manager Steve Keim would be calling.

“CJ2K” barely started getting acclimated to the everyday life of a normal person when he was summoned back to the nest. Any resentment that Johnson may have been carrying for being let go would have to be placed aside. The NFL is a business where personal feelings have no place.

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The roster Steve Keim has built makes the future look bright.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Amidst the recent struggles the Cardinals have had over the past 20 games, I am finding myself feeling very excited and encouraged about the emerging youth on this football team.

Steve Keim built the current roster in such a way that the younger players can bring much needed energy and enthusiasm to what is otherwise a veteran team. Here are some of the players (by position) to feel very encouraged about:

QB: Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert is only 27 years old and he brings a dimension that few of the recent Cardinals’ QBs have had — a combination of size, arm strength and above average mobility. If you saw how the Broncos beat up on the Cowboys with Trevor Siemien at QB, Siemien’s ability to bootleg and shift the pocket was superb and it kept the Cowboys’ defense off-balance and on their heels all afternoon. This is what Gabbert can bring to the Cardinals’ offense, if and when he gets his chance. Better yet, Gabbert has a superior skills set to Siemien’s. Had Gabbert grown up in the Broncos’ system I have no doubt that he would be considered one of the top QBs in the NFL today.

RB: David Johnson: Not only is Johnson one of the most dynamic combo running back the NFL has seen in recent years, he is thoroughly lovable as a human being. Ever kind and humble, Johnson is like the golden retriever who will do anything to bring a smile to your face. With Larry Fitzgerald on the verge of retiring, Johnson will now become the hard-working, modest face of the franchise, hopefully for the better part of the next decade.

T.J. Logan: Can’t wait to see him healthy. Logan’s speed and his aggressiveness are a formidable one-two punch. He is a home run waiting to happen in the return game and out of the backfield.

WR: J.J. Nelson: There is something magical about J.J. Nelson, not just because he has legitimate 4.28 speed, but because he has remarkable body control. BA said it best about Nelson…he’s a speed guy who can cut and change direction without losing speed or the ability to track the football.

Carlton Agudosi: The way he moves for a WR his size is stunning. It is amazing that Rutgers did not do more to maximize his skills. Tall, angular WRs are becoming quite an asset in today’s NFL. Look at what issues WRs like Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin are presenting to NFL defenses. The Cardinals might have one of their own in Agudosi, if they can develop him.

TE: Ricky Seals-Jones: Again, the combination of length and speed with Seals-Jones is akin to that of Agudosi’s. Seals-Jones was starting to emerge as a receiving threat the last couple games of the pre-season. His talent is unmistakable.

OL: Evan Boehm: Boehm is a blue collar, smart, take nothing for granted type of competitor. He works his tail off and gets good results. Has an excellent combination of a strong base and superb upper body strength.

John Wetzel: Give Wetzel an assignment and give him a week to prepare for it and he gets after it big-time. The thing i love about him is he is the best run blocking tackle on the roster and he has been making very good strides as a pass protector. Last week versus Jabaal Sheardand John Simon — Wetzel yielded 0 sacks and 0 QB pressures on 40 pass attempts. I think that for the past two years he has been one of the top 4-5 best offensive linemen on the roster and it’s now time to keep him in the starting lineup at either of the tackle spots.

DT: Robert Nkemdiche: This guy is a keg of dynamite. What was so encouraging about him in the pre-season was that not only was he starting to blow up his side of the line, he was showing an increased ability to locate the football and to finish off plays. Once Nkemdiche has a taste of success in the regular season games, he is going to be an at-times unstoppable force.

OLB/DE: Markus Golden: They call him “Junk” as in junkyard dog because Golden is the epitome of tenacity and relentlessness. He’s a better athlete than he gets credit for, imo. He’s got an inmate ability to out-muscle blocks and the short area quickness to change directions and find his way to the football. Here is a guy who leaves it all out on the field. Better yet, when BA said after week one that the offensive struggles kept the defense out on the field too long, which is why they tired at the end of the game, Golden wanted no part of that thinking. He said the defense should be able to handle any type of situation and, that it’s on them to get it done.

LB: Deone Bucannon: I still feel as if Deone Bucannon’s best football is ahead of him. Recently he’s been battling through injury and inconsistent play, but once he gets his feet back under him and once he starts trusting his instincts more regularly he is going to be a prolific playmaker. The thing about Deone is that he has always relished the physical aspects of the game

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The Arizona Cardinals have run into a depth issue at tight end to start the season

All seemed fine in training camp and the preseason for the Arizona Cardinals at the tight end position.  That feeling didn’t last more than one game into the new season.

Jermaine Gresham got injured against the Detroit Lions.  On Thursday he did not practice.  Then Troy Niklas all a sudden came down with an injury.  He too did not practice.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 10: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Arizona Cardinals tries to break the tackle of Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 35-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There was hope that the Cardinals would use the tight end more in the passing game this season with the questionable depth at receiver.  Gresham was re-signed in the offseason in the hopes of building on what he accomplished in 2016.

Gresham had 37 receptions for 391-yards and two touchdowns.  It was an improvement over his 18 receptions for 223-yards and a touchdown in his first season in Arizona in 2015.

Niklas has battled the injury bug pretty much since the time he arrived in Arizona.  Now he’s hurt again and you have to wonder about him going forward.

The Cardinals generally look for blocking first from their tight ends but they could become a huge part of the offense and the short passing game with the absence of running back David Johnson. After Gresham and Niklas is Ifeanyi Momah.They have Ricky Seals-Jones on the practice squad.  It sure seems like however that the Cardinals are not only worried about Gresham and Niklas this weekend but with what Momah and Seals-Jones can provide.

With that in mind, the Cardinals are reportedly bringing back Jim Dray.  You remember Dray. He caught all of seven passes in his first three seasons in Arizona.

In 2013, coach Bruce Arians’ first season in Arizona, Dray was a little more involved in the offense. He caught 26 passes for 215-yards and two touchdowns.  After that he moved on to Cleveland for two seasons.

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Breaking down the interception return for a touchdown by the Cardinals cornerback

The Cardinals had a poor offensive showing on Sunday against the Lions, and it will only get tougher with star running back David Johnsonon the shelf for at least two months. The defense will need to step up, much like Justin Bethel did early against Detroit. On his first target as a full-time starting cornerback, Bethel picked off a Matthew Stafford throw and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. Bethel and linebacker Josh Bynes explained how the play unfolded in this week’s edition of Cardinals Film Room.

The situation: The Lions had a second-and-5 from the Arizona 21 with 11:29 remaining in the first quarter of a scoreless game.

Bethel moves with Lions wide receiver Golden Tate as he motions closer to the ball: “Tate, we know when he gets inside he likes to do a lot of under routes. This is a Cover-1 but we had some inside help. He was lined up wide, and once he bumped down, I decided I’d stay down with him and play him off the line.”

Bynes’ job is to patrol the middle of the field, and he has a feeling Tate will be heading his way: “I saw Golden, and the way he motioned, your senses tingle.”

Bynes hits Tate: “He turned and I saw him crossing. I just tried to get my hands on him and knock him off as much and as hard as possible I could. I’m glad I did. It distracted him.”

Bethel adjusts in coverage: “I was going to get closer to (Tate), but once I saw (Bynes) hit him, I tried to stay over the top of it.”

The collision was legal because it came within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Bynes: “Especially when we’re in certain coverages, you don’t want to get too much depth so you can use your hands within that yardage. I tried to make sure I didn’t back up much. I took a peek and then just ran at him so it would still be legal.”

Bethel doesn’t see Stafford release the ball: “I was actually looking at Tate. I saw Bynes on him. I saw (Tate) throw his hands out, and so when I was looking at his hands, I saw the ball coming, too. When I saw it was overthrown, I was over top of him, so I saw the ball coming and I just stuck my hands up there to make sure I would catch the ball. I caught it in stride, so I just caught it and kept running.”

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With cuts looming, here’s an attempt at how it might look

Among the players that figure to make the Cardinals’ 53-man roster is quarterback Blaine Gabbert (7).
By Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals have to slice the roster down to 53 players from the 89 they had as of Friday morning.

Some will end up on injured reserve. A trade is possible. Most will simply be released. The reality is that of the 53 the Cardinals keep, the vast majority – perhaps as many as 46 or 47 – were locks before the Cardinals even had their first training camp practice.

The 53 Cardinals Saturday won’t necessarily be the 53 Monday taking part in the first practice of the season either. If a player is awarded via a waiver claim, the Cardinals will have to let someone go. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Cards sought someone to add depth to the offensive line or the linebacker corps, especially on the outside.

For purposes of this exercise however, we’re sticking with who is on the current roster, since that’s all we have available.

QB (3) — Carson PalmerDrew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert has been a pleasant surprise since he signed. Stanton is the backup, but Gabbert sticks and is a possibility for the future.

RB (4) — David JohnsonKerwynn WilliamsElijhaa PennyAndre Ellington: With David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams locks, it feels like this comes down to two spots for the remaining three guys. It

would not be a surprise if veteran Chris Johnsonmakes the team over Ellington, and this is probably the most difficult decision the Cardinals have to make. Penny showed a lot running the ball over the preseason, and the hope is that he can fulfill the special teams role of former running back Stepfan Taylor. The pros for keeping Ellington are that he is running as well as he has (and as hard) since his rookie season and he’s the one player best equipped to fill David Johnson’s role if something were to happen to the top back. The pros for keeping CJ2K are his relationships inside the locker room and his superior pass protection. Both have been effective running the ball. Not an easy choice. (Rookie T.J. Logan goes to IR, but he may be back later this season.)WR (6) — Larry FitzgeraldJohn BrownJaron BrownJ.J. NelsonChad WilliamsBrittan Golden: Bruce Arians hinted at a seventh receiver, but that seems unlikely. Aaron Dobson’s speed intrigues, but in the end, Golden is good on special teams, an area Dobson does not help. Rookie Carlton Agudosi makes sense for the practice squad.

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Chris Johnson has lost a step and it could wind up costing him a spot on the Arizona Cardinals roster

The Arizona Cardinals are still working out their roster for the 2017 season. One of the positions that hasn’t been settled yet is at running back, where David Johnson rules as the top guy. Behind him, though, things are a lot less sure.

Kerwynn Williams ended the 2016 season on a positive note, but has little experience. TJ Logan was drafted to be a change of pace runner, and a return man, but is injured. Elijah Penny is a big back, but hasn’t shined in the playing time he’s gotten. Andre Ellington rounds out the backup crew, and he has been solid this preseason, but has had health issues in the past.

Chris Johnson is the guy that makes the most sense as the backup, in theory. He brings plenty of experience, and is one of the great running backs in modern history. The Cardinals are hoping he still has the speed to make a difference.

So far this preseason, Johnson hasn’t excelled. He has just ten yards on seven carries in the two games he’s played in. More importantly than the stats, however, is the obvious lost step. It’s fairly obvious, especially when he’s in space, that age is affecting the former 2,000 yard rusher. Plays that might be long runs wind up as short ones. Defenders are just able to close on him quickly.

Johnson suffered an injury last season that limited him to just 25 carries. He averaged 3.8 yards per run, which is more than half a yard off his career pace. He’ll be 32 years old in September, and for a player who depends on speed so much, a loss of even just a little could be critical.

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NAPA, Calif. — As the play unfolded in front of him last Saturday, Karl Josephread the hole opening on the right side of the line and did not hesitate. The Oakland Raiders second-year strong safety saw David Johnson make a cut and Joseph planted his foot and made a beeline for the Arizona Cardinals running back.

With a 10-yard running start, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Joseph absolutely thumped the 6-1, 224-pound Johnson on the third play of the game. A stunned Johnson appeared to be checked on by an official after he got up.

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No matter how you look at it, the Cardinals’ running back is worth a lot

Cardinals running back David Johnson is hoping to gain 1,000 yards rushing and a 1,000 yards receiving.
Just what is a David Johnson worth?

He’s worthy of being the centerpiece of an offense, as a threat to gain both 1,000 yards rushing and a 1,000 yards receiving and capable of getting 30 touches a game. He’s valuable to a team’s offensive efficiency, creating matchup problems and three-down availability with his dual abilities as both runner and pass catcher. He’s priceless to a fan base which loves a modest superstar.

His value on a contract … well, that’s soon to be seen.

“The scary thing about David Johnson is that he has three assets that not many people have,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “Number one, he’s got a rare work ethic. Two, he’s got freakish genetics and rarely do you find a guy with freakish genetics and rare work ethic. Usually, they have to work hard just to compete on the NFL level.

“And then the number one asset he’s got that I think will make him continue to get better as a pro, is humility. But even with all the attention and being in the limelight, he’s still able to evaluate and be critical of himself.”

Johnson, who will turn 26 in December, isn’t sure (or at least, isn’t saying) exactly what he’s worth, monetarily or otherwise. As usual, he downplays what he has done.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bleeding Green Nation’s game-by-game preview of the Eagles‘ 2017 schedule continues today with Philadelphia’s Week 5 opponent: the Arizona Cardinals. (Click here for the Week 4 preview.)

The 2016 Cardinals had a below average offense, a strong defense, and a bad special teams unit. Put it all together and Arizona finished with a 7-8-1 record just one year after going to the NFC Championship Game.

Like the Eagles last year, the Cardinals may have been a little better than their record indicates. Arizona finished with the seventh best point differential in the NFL (+56), which is the highest total of any team that didn’t make the playoffs.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cardinals be a formidable team in 2017. They still have a number of talented players on their roster. Running back David Johnson is one of the best offensive weapons in the league right now due to his ability to contribute as both a runner and receiver. Arizona’s defense is still strong and features the likes of Patrick PetersonTyrann MathieuChandler Jones, Deone Buccannon, etc. Though I don’t like to admit it because he’s annoying, Bruce Arians is a good coach who gives his team a chance to win more often than not.

With all that said, Carson Palmer is a big x-factor for this team. He regressed in 2016 after having an MVP-worthy season two years ago. Palmer turns 38 this season so he’s reaching the end of his career. He reportedly gave thought to retiring this offseason before ultimately deciding to come back.

This game has the potential to be tough for the Eagles. The Cardinals should be beatable away from their home stadium, though, especially if Palmer isn’t playing up to snuff.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the Cardinals from our SB Nation associates over at Revenge Of The Birds.

Notable free agent additions:

Antoine Bethea, Jarvis JonesKarlos Dansby,

Notable free agent departures:

Calais CampbellTony JeffersonD.J. SwearingerMarcus CooperKevin Minter

Trades:

Traded 2nd and 4th picks in 2017 NFL Draft for Budda Baker. Traded 3rd round pick in 2017 NFL Draft for late 3rd (Chad Williams) and 4th (Dorian Johnson) round pick in 2017 NFL Draft.

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After the 2016 season came and went, the Arizona Cardinals had a handful of young stars on their hands.

Markus Golden and David Johnson broke out the most in 2016, showing that the Arizona Cardinals have done a great job of bringing players along at the right pace and putting them in positions to be successful.

Some were obvious, David Johnson likely would be successful in any offense, but Markus Golden has been the perfect complimentary pass rusher, his relentless attitude and ability to keep the same effort and energy from kickoff to final whistle is amazing.

The Cardinals need that development to continue in 2017, so here are three candidates to breakout in 2017 for the Arizona Cardinals.

Robert Nkemdiche, DT – Nkemdiche needs to figure it out maybe more than any other player on the Arizona Cardinals defense.

Nkemdiche boasts an amazing combination of size, strength and athleticism, but he has always been a bit of an enigma on the field. If he is putting it together like he is capable, the Arizona Cardinals could see little if any falloff from the 2016 defense.

With the way Nkemdiche can play when engaged, the sky is the limit, although we’d all just like to see a consistent, high effort in year two.

Justin Bethel, CB – No player has a bigger chance to become a star in 2017 than Bethel. He is finally healthy and has been waiting for the opportunity to get a full offseason of playing corner under his belt.

Now, at age 27, he is not just fighting for the second corner spot, but a big payday that will take him into his 30’s.

Bethel’s biggest asset is his athleticism, but it has never been something he trusted when playing cornerback.

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