NFL PLAYER NEWS

Cards’ Johnson continues to put up solid numbers

The Sports Xchange

September 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm.

Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 40-7. Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 40-7. Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. — David Johnson has made seven career regular-season starts. And in those seven games, the Arizona Cardinals’ second-year running back has more rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage than any other player in the NFL.

Johnson added to those numbers once again Sunday during Arizona’s 40-7 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are University of Phoenix Stadium, rushing 12 times for 45 yards and catching three passes from Carson Palmer for 98 more.

That’s 143 total yards against the Bucs a week after piling up 132 total yards against the Patriots. If you count all seven of his regular-season starts, it’s 576 yards on the ground and 933 yards overall.

“That’s a grown man over there,” Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter said, motioning toward Johnson. “I mean, he looks like Hershel Walker over there with them arms and stuff. It makes you think, ‘Do I hit him high or do I hit him low?’ The kid is something special, man.”

The Cardinals don’t feel fortunate to have a sneaky fast, dual threat on their team like Johnson, a third-round pick out of Northern Iowa. It was by design that he’s in Arizona in the first place.

“It’s on purpose,” coach Bruce Arians said. “You draft guys that fit your schemes. He and Andre (Ellington) fit in perfectly. And Chris (Johnson) is a heck of a pounder when you want to pound it.”

But the bulk of the Cardinals’ offense this season looks as though it’s going to run straight through David Johnson.

“Dave does everything,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “He runs the ball, obviously, great. He is a monster in check downs, as you saw. He runs great routes. He’s one of those guys that if he needed to, he could play on every special teams and he’s probably lead the special teams in tackles.

“He’s just that guy. I don’t think you can find a weakness in his game.”

Johnson said he’s not satisfied and feels as though he still has to prove some people wrong before he gets his proper respect in the NFL.

“When I was getting drafted and everything, no one knew me,” he said. “A lot of guys didn’t even know I played running back. That’s what motivated me to come out and keep getting better and keep doing what I can to prove to all those guys that doubted me. Even now, I still get some negative stuff that’s going on.”

Asked what type of negative stuff he was referring to, Johnson said, “Not from anyone in particular. Just little things. Last year I ended up doing pretty well, but people talk about sophomore-slump type things. You know how it is.”

Minter said he hasn’t seen a player like Johnson in quite some time and that the running back is deceptively dangerous once he gets an inch on a defender.

“It’s the strides, you know what I mean?” Minter said. “It looks like he’s just chilling, but before you know it, he’s way in front of you and all you see is (butt) and elbows going into the end zone.”