Early in the offseason, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked about giving the ball to running back David Johnson 373 times last season and Arians said he would like to bump Johnson up to 30 touches a game during the 2017 season.
Arians explained that he believes Johnson is “too young to overuse” and Johnson said he’s up for that kind of workload, although there are still some who wonder if there is a point where Johnson could wear down. Mike Florio voiced that concern in a question to Arians during the coach’s visit to PFT Live on Wednesday and Arians shared some more of his thoughts about how he’d like to use the running back.
“I think [his usage is] just right. I’d like to get it up a little bit more in receiving yards,” Arians said. “Early in the season he had a chance to have big game and he ran the wrong route a couple of times. I kept telling him all year about that. I said, ‘You would have had your 1,000 and 1,000 [rushing and receiving yards] if you’d have busted those ones in September. … I think 30 touches is not too much for him when you’re talking about 10 receptions, 20 carries. And that’s not 20 times up the middle where he’s gonna get busted up. We’re going to make sure we take care of him.”
Arians said he does think about a point where he’s pushing Johnson too far, but Johnson won’t ever “tap out” and the Cardinals were missing a strong backup last year after Chris Johnson got hurt. Andre Ellington and T.J. Logan are the top backup options this year.