David Johnson‘s breakout 2016 season seems like ages ago to most everyone.
His recent playing time only affirms such a notion.
Johnson has appeared in 11 of Arizona’s 13 games this season, but has only played 48.3 percent of the team’s offensive downs. New arrival Kenyan Drake has ascended to the top of the running back group, which has seen its fair share of faces (Chase Edmonds, for example) this season, receiving 65 carries since his first game as a Cardinal in Week 9. Johnson, meanwhile, has carried the ball a combined 12 times in his last four games played.
It’s a far cry from the optimistic outlook for the once-budding Cardinals star who has been hampered by multiple injuries and seems to have fallen out of favor in coach Kliff Kingsbury’s first season in Arizona. The running back said Wednesday his lack of playing time was an issue he’s brought up to the coaching staff and something with which he did not agree.
“Any NFL player, if you’re a competitor, if you’re not on the field, you’re obviously going to be upset about it,” Johnson said, per the team’s official website.
After averaging 4.2 yards per carry and racking up over 2,000 all-purpose yards in that memorable 2016 campaign, Johnson has gained 2,088 all-purpose yards in his last two seasons combined. Most of that total came last year, when he flirted with 1,000 yards rushing and found the end zone a total of 10 times.
“He knows what he can be when he’s playing at a high level, and I think everybody else does,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve just got to keep him rolling and keep him in a groove.”
With his carries decreasing drastically from 258 in 16 games in 2018 to 89 through 11 games this season, it’s fair to wonder if we’ll ever see the multi-talented star running back who was once blazing down the sideline in the desert. With a $16.2 million dead cap number serving as an anchor for his current four-year contract (which expires in 2022), he likely won’t be out of work any time soon. Whether he’ll again assume a significant role, though, remains to be seen.