Keim: CJ just hitting his stride

Posted by Darren Urban on October 12, 2015 – 8:23 am

Steve Keim said the one-year contract under which running back Chris Johnson is now playing is “something we will look at” in terms of a potential extension. That sounds about right — as good as Johnson has been, Keim and the Cardinals are very careful with older veterans who they have signed to one-year deals, and regardless of how well they play, the Cards will be smart with further contract offers (see Dansby, Karlos and Cromartie, Antonio.) They will have a number they are comfortable with, and if it isn’t good enough for Johnson, the Cardinals will be ready to move on. That’s the model.

Still, Johnson is tied for the second-most rushing yards in the league with 405 yards (the Bears’ Matt Forte has 438) and after not having an offseason and getting hurt (hamstring) almost as soon as he showed up to training camp, Keim noted Johnson is still on the upswing.

“Chris Johnson is just now starting to hit his stride,” Keim said during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7.

— Keim said he had no updates yet on the injured players from Sunday: LB Alex Okafor (calf), LB Kenny Demens (knee) and S Chris Clemons (hamstring).

— Safety-as-dollar-linebacker Deone Bucannon had 11 tackles Sunday and played well. What is he? “He’s playing linebacker but there is no question to me it’s an advantage to have hybrid players,” Keim said.

“He’s one of the guys who stood out (Sunday),” Keim said. “When he runs to the football he looks like he was shot out of a cannon.”

— Keim said he was pleased with the performance in Detroit — how could he not? —  but “by no means did we play flawless.” Keim said the defense was opportunistic but gave up too many explosive plays. And offensively, the blocking is still allowing too many hits on quarterback Carson Palmer. Keim said there remain communication issues on the offensive line.

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32 Responses to “Keim: CJ just hitting his stride”

  1. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Those 3 injuries, all impactful, illustrate how everybody has a role, and their contributions will be missed. Meanwhile, the Cards kick back tonite for steaks at the Greenbrier and watch the Steelers on MNF. Too good! Young Bidwill has it going on…

  2. By Joe C. on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, How unusual is it to play this many defensive backs? I grew up in LA and I remember the Rams did this one year due to injuries. (under Ray Malavasi I think) They also had a ton of talented DB’s. With the big hitters the Cards have and good cover folks its a natural system. What do you think, the NFL is such a passing league is it time for 5-6 DB’s on every play?

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Joe C —

    RE: DBs

    Well, the Cardinals are certainly making it work. It’s about having the best players on the field in the coaches’ eyes.

  4. By joe Holst on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I think CJ will end up walking and the secondary will take priority with extensions, guys like J.Powers, Bethel, Mathiua, Jefferson all are due next year if not the next. Jefferson is causing havoc out there, 2 FF yesterday. Mathaiu is a must,.Cromarite is not playing all the great for the Jets, I want more pass rushers, the front 7 isn;t really generating enough sacks.

  5. By Big Ken on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    No comparison: Chris Johnson to Dansby or Cromartie, c’mon.

  6. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Big Ken —

    RE: No comparison

    I’m assuming you mean those two weren’t as good as what Johnson is doing — because he’s doing really well.

    But …

    Dansby was Cards’ MVP in 2013.

    Cromartie made the Pro Bowl.

  7. By Cramsey on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Adrian Wilson was a little bigger than Bucannon, but it seems like he is being used in a similar way to how we used to use A-Dub. I can remember Wilson lining up in the box on a lot of packages similar to Bucannon.

    Anyone else seeing some parallels between those two? Wilson’s bigger size and physique made him a bigger hitter, but Buc can lay the wood too. I don’t want to call Buc the next A-Dub yet. But it seems like the potential is there if he can continue to play at a high level.

  8. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Cramsey —

    RE: Buc and A-Dub

  9. By bigredcards on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Now this might be just me but if I was Chris Johnson I’d take one look at how those guys are doing outside of Arizona and take what they give me to stay in this powerful offense and hopefully win some superbowls

  10. By NJAzCardsFan on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren- Any chance the Cards FO is going to add a few years to CJ’s 1 year contract before he hits the FS market?

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: CJ contract

    Didn’t I just address that above?

  12. By bigredcards on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Now this might just be me but if I was Chris Johnson I’d take one look at how those guys are doing outside of Arizona and take what the cardinals give me to stay in this offense

  13. By Richard L on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, Keim needs to address the punter, Butler. Cardinals are 31 out of 32 teams, narrowly beating out Tampa Bay, for the worst punting stats in the league. Stats and the tape don’t lie. Can you ask him or Arians about this?

  14. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Richard L —

    RE: Butler

    Arians has been asked multiple times, including last week. He says he is satisfied.

  15. By TucsonTim on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    CJ going for over 1000 yards this season…awesome. Keim is a genius (so get us a real punter btw)

    2 wks in a row we get east coast teams that played a west coast MNF game. How often has that happened!

    Is the team staying in the hotel or the bunker? LOL

  16. By clssylssy on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    It’s still early but CJ seems more of a team player with the Cards than either Dansby or Cromartie. Carlos was always about the money as evidenced by his speedy exit after the SB for the Phins, and Cro never hid his love for New York and wanting to get back to the Jets…which is OK, because it’s a business and people have to look after their own. The Cards were a means to an end for both of these guys. And, while CJ’s early history would not point to an individual who was a team player, he seems to be happy to be here, grateful for the opportunity and totally committed to the success of the team and his role in the RB corp. I was skeptical when Keim signed CJ, but, believe he was “found gold” for our running game and absolutely LOVE watching him play. He is tough and can block better than any of our other running backs. I just hope the organization will do right by him and he gets the “incentives” he has earned.
    This is such a talented group of young men and SK is really going to be tested in his ability to keep this group together as contracts begin coming to an end but, that’s how the “dynasty” teams are able to define themselves…maintaining consistency with core players and coaching staff.

  17. By krehbieo14 on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I think Chris Johnson will remain with the Cards. It’s in his best interest at his age and tenure to play for a team that has multiple offensive weapons to keep him fresh. He knows what it was like to play for Tennessee and I’m not sure any elite teams will pay big money for his services. I think Keim will do what he can to keep him in the running back room. He’s a valuable asset and team player.

  18. By Dynosoar on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I love this defense. We may not be getting prolific sack numbers, instead we’re generating huge interception numbers (except for the Rams game). Maybe, with this secondary of ball-hawks, it’s better to give a QB time to throw the ball. Then instead of a punt return we have an interception.

    Whatever the game plan, I’m enjoying watching our secondary in action.

  19. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Keim, stop it. Looks like Freeney on the way. Lol, get over to the Greenbriar!

  20. By clssylssy on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I see SK just signed Dwight Feeney to a one year deal similar to CJ to help the pass rush! Sounds good to me 🙂

  21. By clssylssy on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I see SK signed Dwight Freeney to a 1 year deal similar to CJ’s. Sounds good to me, especially if he does as good of a job as Chris!
    Also see that Okafor will be out for 2-4 weeks so am kinda curious to see the plan for Freeney (DE) with Okafor (Linebacker) gone as this is suppose to improve our pass rush. Should be interesting because I know they have something in mind!

  22. By georgiebird on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Not getting Gurley or Gordon in the draft was expected because of draft order but getting Chris Johnson was a great move even if for only a year or two.
    But to have the real #1 draft choice not dress for 5 weeks makes giving an off- season grade to SK so difficult.
    SK should just thank BA for the way everything has turned out AND BA can thank SK for CJ.

  23. By georgiebird on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Read this article on Keim’s view of the Cards-Lions game and agree with SK 100%

  24. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    @ Clssylssy….I was disappointed when Dansby and Cromartie moved on but I always thought they were team players when they were here. I have to think Dansby has had some second thoughts but Cromartie has obviously landed in a good spot. Good for him and Todd Bowles too. I sometimes wonder why players, who already should have more money than they should ever need, leave a very good situation for a very poor one only because of money. I also wonder why players demand to be the highest paid player at their position in the league when they know (or should know) that their selfishness or egotism means that there is not enough money to pay other deserving teammates. Obviously I have never been in their position so I guess that’s why I wonder about it. I also understand that the door swings both ways. Adrian Wilson took less money to remain with the Cardinals and he ended up getting released when it was deemed that his skills had diminished. In the end it’s a business.

  25. By NJAzCardsFan on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren- You did in the article…. I guess, I should take out my glass eye (not really) and clean it…..

  26. By Scott H on Oct 12, 2015 | Reply

    I swear, with all the weapons Carson Palmer has at his disposal at this point, he is probably the 2nd most powerful nation on earth right now! He must be feeling like he died, went to heaven, and has been given a dream offense to run as he pleases.

    With Ellington back in the fold, it is just plain sick how loaded this offense is. It really has been a blast to watch. With some of the other “better” teams struggling against lesser teams on Sunday ( Falcons, Broncos ), you could almost see the Cards / Lions game maybe going the same way. Then, the score just started rolling up like a damn pinball machine! EVERY TIME I looked up, the Cards had another 7 on the board. The times I have been able to enjoy a Sunday afternoon like THAT in the last 40 years have been few and far between. I don’t dwell on the misery of the past, but I DO use it to provide perspective. And when your team is playing like this, that perspective is just as sweet as that white stuff they drizzle over the top of a Cinnabun!

    My daughter supposedly saw on-line somewhere that the total number of points the Cardinals have put up during the first 5 games this year is the 5th highest total in NFL history for that same span. So…this offense is not just good – they are historically good.

    I am loving having CJ here. This trio of RB’s is absolutely perfect together. And if speed does indeed kill, then these guys are all on the 10 Most Wanted List ( wanted by other teams, that is ). And much love to this O-line for paving the way.

    I feel like I have to stop here because if I continue, I’ll just say something that will jinx us. No need for that.

    It’s amazing how much less I have to say when I’m happy! 🙂 And I wonder if the Cinnabun place is still open….

  27. By Dave Chaney on Oct 14, 2015 | Reply

    I can’t explain how refreshing it has been to watch the Cards evolve into a winning team. The work that ownership, management and the coaching staff have done shows how dedicated they are to not only building a winning team now but for years down the road. I love how they give players who appear to be “over the hill” a chance to show they still have a lot left in the tank. CJ is a fine example and I think Freeny will be a similar pickup. I am in my 55th season of being a Big Red fan and glad to say I have been a faithful all these years. If the Cubs are able to win the World Series, the Big Red can win the Super Bowl. All of us die hard fans are so deserving. Go Cards!

  28. By Gabrielle C. on Oct 14, 2015 | Reply

    love the team players attitudes especially Larry Fitzgerald and all the running backs. Love the coach and staff and owners. They all deserve to win it all if they keep working hard and playing smarter. The snowbirds are coming to town and many are joining bandwagon!

    Sometimes players need to consider all the intangible positive of playing for this team versus just making a few more bucks.

    A USC alumni — go Carson and frosty!

  29. By Eazy E on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    Well deserved talks with the way he’s playing! From potentially losing his life to a potential contract extension… Only God!

  30. By Eazy E on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    My Bad, From potentially losing his life to gaining a potential contract extension… Only God!!

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Oct 12, 2015: Chris Johnson Contract: Latest News, Rumors Surrounding Cardinals RB’s Future | Sporty
  3. Nov 1, 2015: Cardinals Discussing Contract Extension With Chris Johnson |

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