He first stated the goal two years ago, and he’s still planning to get there.
Cardinals running back David Johnson, one of the best running backs in the game before a Week One wrist injury derailed his third NFL season in 2017, continues to aim for a season of both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving.
It was his objective two years ago. It remained his objective last year. It remains his objective today.
“My biggest motivation is still 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving,” Johnson recently said, via NFL.com. “That’s what I’m always going to try to strive to just because I was so close in 2016. . . . I think I still have the same mentality of trying to get that.”
In 2016, Johnson racked up 1,239 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards. The sum of 2,116 yards ranks 40th all time in yards from scrimmage, one of only 67 times a player has combined for 2,000 yards rushing and receiving. Last year, he rushed for 940 and added 446 receiving.
This year, Kliff Kingsbury’s offense could make it easier to rack up receiving yards, harder to gain rushing yards.
“I’ve talked to guys [who are familiar with Kingsbury’s offense] like [receiver] Christian Kirk and he said a lot of people have heard he doesn’t run the ball, but he told me personally that their running backs have gotten the ball a lot as far as running the ball,” Johnson said. “I’ve heard that Kliff is really good at putting his guys in open space, especially as running backs, and giving them open space to try to get the yards catching the ball, and doing things like that.”
Whatever the split between rushing and receiving, Johnson hopes to get more than the 298 total touches he had in 2018, which was well below his 373-touch season from 2016.
“My role this upcoming season, from talking to the coaches, is that I’m going to hopefully get the ball a little more,” Johnson said. “Really, it’s just how much I can learn and be able to attain with the playbook that’s really going to determine how much I play and how much I do as far as the offense.”
The 27-year-old Johnson still has plenty of tread on the tires, and he continues to be one of the best players on the Arizona roster. While much needs to be determined about the 2019 version of the team — including most importantly whether the quarterback will be Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray — there’s no doubt that Johnson can be great if given the chances. Kingsbury would be wise to give those chances to Johnson.