It seems like an eternity since we’ve seen the best version of David Johnson that’s possible play in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals have undergone plenty of changes that could help the running back return to peak form.
This offseason, the Cardinals decided to rid of Steve Wilks after just one season at the helm. Instead, they went on the offensive side of the football and hired Kliff Kingsbury.
Kingsbury is known for helping the likes of Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes grow as quarterbacks while he coached at Texas Tech. Now, he’ll get to work with Kyler Murray, who the Cardinals used the number one overall pick on.
For Murray, it was either baseball or football and the Heisman Trophy winner chose football. The mobile quarterback will replace Josh Rosen after Arizona traded him after just one season.
As you can see, the Cardinals offense has been completely overhauled like it was a house on Extreme Makeover. Ty Pennington will move the bus before Week 1 and the Cardinals hope the results are beneficial.
Especially Johnson, who is itching to return to being one of the best running backs in the NFL.
It’s the return of the Johnson (still working on a phrase) this season and here are three numbers to target for the Cardinals running back in 2019.
3. 1,000 Rushing Yards
This year is expected to be the return of the Johnson that we saw in 2016. A good start would be to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards for the first time since 2016.
The Cardinals running back has been limited by injuries and a lack of help in the past two seasons. With the hiring of Kingsbury, the offense should see a vast improvement from last season.
Kingsbury will likely use Johnson as the main focal point of his offense.
In 2018, Arizona had the 32nd ranked rushing offense and Johnson struggled on the ground. Alongside the rookie Murray, the rushing attack for the Cardinals in 2019 is one of the best in the NFL on paper.
To turn that into a reality, Johnson will need to return to his older form and surpass 1,000-yards rushing in 2019.
2. 15 Total Touchdowns
It’s been a couple of years since Johnson was terrorizing opposing defenses on the ground and through the air. Touchdowns weren’t easy to come by for the Cardinals and Johnson in 2018 though.
As a team, Arizona had just 24 touchdowns over the entire season last year. Out of those 24 touchdowns, Johnson had 10 of them.
It is encouraging that even in a down-year, Johnson was still able to crack double-digits in touchdowns. With all of the new weapons on offense, that should help the All-Pro running back get into the end zone more.
Although, it’s tough to see Johnson returning to scoring 20 touchdowns as he did in 2016 but it’s fair to assume he can tally 15 of them in 2019.
1. 1,800 Yards from Scrimmage
What makes Johnson such a valuable weapon in the Cardinals offense, is his ability to catch passes while being a threat in the running game. Even last year, Johnson had 308 touches—50 of those coming through the air.
All of Johnson’s numbers should increase across the board with the changes that were made in Arizona this offseason. Last year can be chalked up to bad team-building and play-calling.
Now, this year, Johnson needs to return to being a scrimmage-yards machine like he once was. The touches will likely be there for the fifth-year running back but he has to capitalize on it.
As for the guess as to how many yards from scrimmage he’ll have, it’s tough to see him returning to the 2,000-yard mark.
Therefore, Johnson will most likely land around the 1,800-1,900-yard mark.