Byron Leftwich plans to emulate Bruce Arians’ use of David Johnson

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When head coach Steve Wilks installed Byron Leftwich as the Cardinals’ new offensive coordinator, one of the things he said was that he hoped Leftwich can help David Johnson rediscover his 2016 success.

Leftwich was on former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians’ staff that season and he confirmed on Thursday that he plans to borrow from his former boss when he was asked how much he will take from Arians.

“Everything,” Leftwich said, via Kyle Odegard of the team’s website. “I sat shoulder-to-shoulder with B.A. every day I was here. There have been a lot of long nights sitting next to him, us nodding off together.”

Johnson averaged over 23 touches a game in 2016 and has been getting the ball just over 19 times a game this season, but the results have been far worse. He averaged over 5.6 yards per touch in 2016 and is below four yards a touch this year.

Boosting those totals will take more than just feeding Johnson the ball more often, but putting him in different spots in formations and finding ways to get him in space more often would be a decent starting point when it comes to ways to maximize his value to the offense.

18 responses to “Byron Leftwich plans to emulate Bruce Arians’ use of David Johnson

  1. Maybe it’s not the coaches. Maybe Johnson just isn’t as good as he’s made out to be.

    The guy had one decent year. Then Steve-o-holic Keim gave him a huge contract, so now he’s the second coming of Marshall Faulk.

  2. It’s NOT the number of touches, it’s the QUALITY of touches. And quality is made up from the quality of the offensive line – how does this O-line stack up to THAT O-line, the quality of receivers to take some of the pressure off and keep defenses from stacking 8 & 9 men in the box. How good are these receivers compared to THOSE receivers? And the quality of the offensive system, is the system capable of putting everyone in the best situations so to succeed? How does this offensive system compare to THAT offensive system?

    From where I’m sitting, this year’s O-line stinks but the 2016 O-Line was better than average and aside from Fitzgerald there isn’t any receiver on this year’s team worth respecting yet the 2016 receivers had both John & Jaron Brown helping to open things up for Johnson. This year, it doesn’t look like the Cardinals even have an offensive system but back in 2016 Arian’s offense attacked you from everywhere on the field. He kept attacking, attacking, attacking you until you looked up and he had dropped 30+ on you.

    But, what do I know. I’ve only been watching football since 1974 and I’m sure Byron Leftwich is a miracle worker and Mike McCoy was the reason for David Johnson’s poor season.

  3. Maybe Leftwich can design plays that cater to Johnson’s strengths which is outside the tackles.. Get him out an open space with either pitches or screen passes.

  4. David Johnson is fixing to explode onto the scene again now that Mike McCoy is gone. McCoy did literally everything that he could do to handcuff the kid, look at David Johnson’s run chart they’re all runs right up the middle. McCoy took one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the NFL and tried turning him into a 3yds and a cloud of dust hammer RB while not using him as a WR at all.

    Now that Leftwhich is running the show we will see Johnson utilized like he should of been all along. They will work the edges in the run game a lot now, which is where Johnson excels and then run to the inside keeping teams off balance. Byron will use David Johnson much more in the passing game to getting him in the slot and splitting him out wide at times. I can not tell u how happy I am that Johnson is finally unleashed, McCoy and his 1980’s offense had to go.

  5. schmitty2 says:
    October 25, 2018 at 6:23 pm
    Maybe Leftwich can design plays that cater to Johnson’s strengths which is outside the tackles.. Get him out an open space with either pitches or screen passes.

    Johnson is one of the most dangerous outside runners in the NFL, why McCoy never ever called outside zone plays getting him outside the tackles is beyond me. I cannot wait to see DJ hit the field this Sunday, I think he is going to have that 49ers defense on their heels all game long now that their finally take the shackles off of David Johnson and cutting him lose. Johnson is a guy who even if u shut him down in the run game, he’s going to kill you in the passing game. You can stop one but not both, which is why it made zero sense to me McCoy refused using him as a WR. The few times McCoy did use him in the passing game AZ was super successful and actually a few explosive plays here and there, making it that much more confusing as to why McCoy didnt lean on him much more utilizing him heavily as a receiver which DJ is more than capable of doing. Not that Byron Leftwich is going to get DJ back involved in the passing game I think he’s in for a big day Sunday.

  6. Great news. I’m not expecting miracles with a rookie QB, and that O-line, but it’s progress. Featuring David Johnson should have been the plan from day 1. He is a great player.

    Then, if Capt. Peterson can put down the want ads, and focus on kicking offense ass on Sundays, the whole team may crank out some of those surprising wins that have been Arizona’s lovable signature the last several years.

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