Keim on David Johnson: “You wonder if he’s real”

Posted by Darren Urban on October 18, 2016 – 8:15 am

Everyone knows the story now, that the Cardinals sought Ameer Abdullah in the 2015 draft and only took David Johnson a round later because the Lions jumped up and drafted Abdullah ahead of the Cards. Yes, you have to be lucky and good sometimes. But after Johnson ran through the previously No. 2-ranked rush defense in the Jets Monday, General Manager Steve Keim said Tuesday during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7 that Johnson has been so impressive both on and off the field, “you wonder if he’s real.”

It was a pure compliment. When you talk to Johnson, Keim said, he’s smart and articulate and humble. A “true professional,” Keim said. And on the field of course, he’s been excellent. “B.A. gives him a hard time” Keim acknowledged, and Bruce Arians is willing to quickly mention what Johnson needs to do to improve despite his gaudy stats. “But the things he does for this offense puts a defense in a bind.”

Keim said he’s always seen Johnson’s skillset to create mismatches in the passing game. But Johnson’s evolution into a “pure runner,” Keim said, is noteworthy.

“He has really improved, particularly his patience and vision,” Keim said.

More Keim thoughts after the Cardinals got back to .500 Monday night:

— Keim said he liked the resiliency of the Cards fighting back to .500, although there is still a long season left. The Seahawks game is big, but (not unexpectedly) Keim said it was important because it’s the next game.

— Lots of praise for the defense. He said the Jets game was the first time he had seen the unit play fast and loose with minimal mental errors. It’s a tough unit when it plays like that, Keim said. When it was suggested that the defense is morphing from a blitz-first group to one who might do a little of everything (the Cardinals certainly finally have a group that can get to the quarterback with just four, especially when the four are Jones, Golden, Campbell and Okafor), Keim said “more than anything, I just think they are starting to jell.

— Keim praised the play of Chandler Jones. “He impacted almost every play.” He also specifically named Markus Golden, fellow linebackers Deone Bucannon and Kevin Minter, and the play of two of the newer defensive backs, Tharold Simon and Marcus Cooper.

— Tyrann Mathieu continues to take steps forward. Keim said he doesn’t think the safety is 100 percent back yet, not from a movement standpoint. But “you definitely see signs of improvement.”

— It would be “huge” if the Cardinals can get Michael Floyd going in the second half of the season. But Keim said the Cardinals still want to do the same with the Browns — Smoke and Jaron — and even J.J. Nelson, who contributed quite a bit Monday night.

— Speaking of Jaron Brown, Keim did not have any injury updates.

— The offensive line and new guards Earl Watford and John Wetzel “did an excellent job” considering the opponent. The Jets had only given up one rushing touchdown coming into the game, Keim noted, and the Cardinals scored three. “Those guys stepped up for the circumstance they were put in,” Keim said.


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27 Responses to “Keim on David Johnson: “You wonder if he’s real””

  1. By Marlin on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Looked like the “real” Cardinals last night. One game at a time.

  2. By D on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    I said last week if D. Harris doesn’t play, we would see D. Johnson run wild.
    I grew up watching W. Payton, in my mind the best RB of all time considering how bad his OFF lines were for most of his career, I see a lot of similarity with D. Johnson, mostly his humility and strive to be great.

    If DJ stays healthy, he will go down as the best RB in franchise history.

  3. By TLT on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Quick hits:
    Had binocs on Wetzel shocked at how fast his feet were on play he pulled to right;
    DBs getting better, Swearinger a beast, Tyran slowly getting better, Tharold and Marcus pair of predators, great pickups, DBs good enuff to beat anybody;
    When Rucker and Peters in, devastating vs run;
    LOVE Calais, but C Jones getting the $$ next year, beast;
    C Palmer sore hammy from dehydration rings true, not used to being on field for 12 plays 3-4 times in a game, new offense, new team;
    Cards can beat Seahawks twice, will need to.

  4. By Matt K on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Let’s wait and see if the Cardinals show up to play this week.

  5. By Eric G on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    What I watched on Monday was just an awful performance all around. Starting QB made a lot of bad plays and so did the backup when he came in. Just poor play from both. Defense? Puh-leaze. I don’t know how anyone watching that game likes how the team will finish the regular season. I see 4 wins at best.

    But enough about the Jets. How ’bout them Cardinals? When I saw them in SF, the D looked like they had their swagger back. Mathieu is getting back to full speed, only a matter of time till he’s the Honey Badger of last year. Remember, it took over a year the last time, so please be patient people. He tore his knee less than a year ago. That he’s playing full games at this point is nothing less than extraordinary. Glad to see Cooper and Simon step up and put Williams on the bench where he belongs right now.

    I loved that the Cards didn’t try to take too many deep shots and had more quick passes. Honestly, they rely on deep passes and long developing pass plays too much. Let’s get 7-15 yards a play. The deep balls will come later.

    Like us going into Sunday. Beat the hawks.

  6. By Joseph Robinett (Lightwing) on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Growing up in a challenging environment can lead one to a rapid, old soul, kind of maturity that Mr. David Johnson, obviously, used and now exudes because of… Too, the illumination that surrounds him correlates in his deflection from the attention that he gives to his blocking brethren and etcetera, a most attractive characteristic.

    Beautifully done, team Cardinal.

    Sincerely, Lightwing

  7. By Dr. G. on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    The igniter most of the time is the QB, but last night it was DJohnson. Palmer started out slowly, but played well enough to get a win. Now, I still pluck the harp on the over-the-top, go-for-it-all pass plays – -we saw only 1 last night {{only 1!}} against the Jets… two big Jet backs double teaming our little smurf John Brown giving him no shot at a jump ball ((but maybe an injury)) thrown short by Palmer… Nada…

    And then, and then, BA started to call the game that the Pats play most of the time, THE SHORTER CROSSING AND OUT ROUTS…! Walla!! Success at almost every passing shot that was not thrown awry…there were a bunch.

    Verdict – – It’s not the FLASH that BA craves, but this was a turn-about game plan that keeps the ball moving. No commentary on our D – – they were really good despite a couple missteps by PPXXI — our shut down CB…!!

    FYI – – Are the playoffs possible? The detestable Seahawks were 3-3 to start out 2015, and then basically ran the table with 1 loss….

    Yeah, we can do this…be well Cards Fans

  8. By Joseph Robinett (Lightwing) on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Hey, Eric G, nice little setup there, very cool…had moi for a sec. Enjoyed what you communicated about the amazing, adrenaline fueled, passion of one Mr. Tyrann Mathieu and his healing powers of a mystic. Thanks!


  9. By rod on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Still not firing on all cylinders but I’ll take the win.

    David Johnson is just unbelievable just like Keim said.

    And Wetzel and Watford wow.

    And the defense stepping up.

    Now that they’ve got that awesome come back move to John Brown, time to set up folks for double move and long bomb !!

    I still worry about Palmer though, he’s not the same.

  10. By Richard S on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Looking at the serial the Cards did over the last year, the brass looked disappointed when they didn’t get the running back they really wanted. You have to be lucky to win sometimes.

  11. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    I was at the game last night and I am certainly glad we won but it was against the Jets and so a win was not unexpected. Except for David Johnson’s long touchdown run the game was not all that exciting…a workmanlike win. As some have noted, Mathieu is not the player he once was. I hope he can make it all the way back but I have my doubts. This was my first live Monday Night Football game so I did a little history. On Nov 29th 2010 we hosted the 49ers on MNF and were beaten 27-6. It was not pretty and we finished the season 5-11. Following the game one of our regular posters had some thoughts he wanted to share. Here are some of them: (1) fine the Cardinals for non-performance (2) it will be a long time before the Cardinals are back on MNF again (3) three hours of my life I’m not getting back (4) they were pathetic and embarrassing and the whole sports world is laughing at us (5) we are back to the days of 4-12. Obviously our friend was upset and disappointed then. Hopefully not so today. But we still have a long way to go and a win Sunday vs the Seahawks is a must and we will need to play better on Sunday than we played last night. We need a better Carson Palmer to start with. Let’s go. And, any guesses as to who wrote that way back on Nov 30th 2010?

  12. By birdwatcher on Oct 18, 2016 | Reply

    Mike Hazen *the new D-Backs GM ” needs to try and sign a few of last nights refs. Those boys put in some work throwing those flags all over the field. They may have thrown more than Palmer! Come to think of it they threw so many they may have torn a rotator cuff, so please disregard Mike Hazen. Earl Watford wow..what heart you showed blocking big guy…keep up that work ethic and you will be a ok. Kudos to B A for not being stubborn and taking what the D gave you. Dinking and dunking your way to 25 point wins is a ok by me and most fans I believe. Keep them guessing B A that is the way to go. David are the man but most importantly you appear to be the next player to potentially grab the torch from Fitz in the future and be the face of this Franchise. Great player but even more importantly you appear to be a good human being and that is a great combo. Go Cards and lets make those other teams earn their wins from now on. Let’s not beat ourselves and be smart with the ball and I like our chances against anyone. Rise UP!

  13. By Marcelof on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    JohnnyBluenose –

    Nice way of having the first MNF, hu?

    I really can’t see a W coming next Sunday night. Hope I’m wrong, but except a Hawks’ collapse they will beat us. Should Jets had better QBs on the field they’d have made a hell of a mess. Seattle have the tools, the pieces and the personel to beat Cardinals. I really don’t think we are at a level to compete with them, not without big plays.

    Cards cannot run all night and they MUST outsmart Seattle pretty well if they want to improve it and take the helms of the NFC west. There may be a way to get Floyd into the game, he’s big, he can face Seattle’s DBs. I don’t John Brown being a weapon this time, Seahawks can cover him.

    A win is possible, although improbable. Nevertheless I am going to tune it up – cause this one goes Live here in Brazil as well – and cheer for Cardinals from the kickoff to the night away (game starts at 11 pm here).

  14. By Eric G on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    David Johnson does need a nickname. DJ Juke? Because he cuts and transforms through defenses on his wheels of steel? (Plus, the crowd can yell JUUUUUUUUUUUUKE every time he makes a big play).

    Next level? Because he reaches the next level.

    Juke Turfwalker? Because I’m a nerd and DJ gives us A New Hope.

    We (or the players) need to give him a good nickname before sportscasters or worse, Chris Berman give him one.

  15. By Wild Blue Yonder on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    I think that I saw the first pass of the night go to a TE!!! WOW!!!
    And, later, one more pass to a TE. Is that a trend? 🙂

    C’Mon, BA. It’s not that difficult to find your TEs open.

  16. By kauaicardsfan on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    I may as well throw my nickname of DJ in the hat and see if it catches?

    How about David ” Daylight ” Johnson ?” Not sure if it has been used?

    Matches both, he can take it to the house and also his personality ?

    So stoked we have a back like him !!! Love seeing the Cards be who they are supposed to be!

    GO CARDS!!!

  17. By clssylssy on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    Nickname…really? Kinda yesterday’s thing. Who, today, playing in just his second year has a nickname? Who of the great’s in today’s game have nicknames…Brady, the GOAT, perhaps, but Rogers? Brees? Fitz? I can see maybe the players having their name for another player, or the coach even…that’s a brotherhood and locker room thing. Just think it’s kinda tacky for the press or fans to assign a nickname to a player, just feels a little intrusive. And, I’m a little superstitious too and would be afraid that would “jinx” him.

  18. By rod on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

  19. By Scott H on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    Looks like this Simon kid could be a real find. He played well on Monday night and how ironic that our next game is against the team that drafted him, the hated Seahawks. It has to say something about him that he WAS drafted by Seattle, a team that certainly knows how to put a secondary together. It says even more that Sherman spoke so highly of him. He has to be loving this opportunity he has with the Cardinals and I would imagine he is going to want to play well against a former team. I am rooting for this kid, big time.

    Not that I am trying to psych myself up with this but the Seahawks are dealing with some injuries of their own, especially on defense. Chancellor didn’t play last week and Bennett was injured during that same game. Yeah, I know – we got the Pats without Brady and Gronk and look how that one turned out. Perhaps a lesson was learned there. BUT if we are going to be without Iupati again and maybe Jaron….I won’t mind if the Seahawks are missing a few pieces as well.

    I think the timing of this game is perfect for the Cardinals. This is EXACTLY the game they need right now. They need to be tested in a way that they were not gonna be tested by the 49ers or the Jets. As tough as UoP has been for the rest of the league, the Seahawks have made a habit of coming here and flat-out embarassing the Cardinals the last three times they were here. And usually in primetime. Ya know what? E-NUFF. That has to end. We have to put a stop to this non-sense now. So….no time like the present.

    The Seahawks are the barrier we just have not been able to get past in recent years. Even last year, when we won the West, that last game in Week 17 just seemed to leave the impression that the Seahawks were still the better team. And that has yet to be dis-proven.

    We can slay some pretty big dragons on Sunday Night. This one is huge.

  20. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    Johnny Blue Nose,

    I went back and looked but could not figure it our. Cards62 had a few similar comments but not really the same stuff you said. I give up.


    After going back to 2010, one thing I noticed is how many people go after you when the cards lose. I even noticed it this year. I guess they want you to really rip on the team (which I am sure would help you with interviews in the future). I guess I found that odd. Any theories? Is it , you are the only one in the organization they can attack?

    Finally, man there were several people yelling for a QB and some wanted Kolb at all cost and couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t say at all cost. You made the comment that, what if it was 2 number 1’s and there was a good QB available in the draft that I could get with one number 1.
    Well the fans got what they wanted.

  21. By Darren Urban on Oct 20, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: After losses

    People get frustrated when the team doesn’t do well. Doesn’t matter if the expectations are high or not. So there will be anger when it happens.

    And yes, in some ways, I am the only one to “attack.” I’m the one they know they can reach, and I’m the only one who will respond one-to-one. So it’s only natural. Comes with the job. Doesn’t mean I love that part of the job, but it’s the job.

  22. By GARYHICKERSON on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply


  23. By clssylssy on Oct 19, 2016 | Reply

    We’ve gone into the Seahawks’ nest and beat them when nobody else could; and the fact that they maybe came away last season still looking like the better team (even though we won the division) was due to the fact that they had been to the SB twice, with a win and a near win, and we did’t give that last game our full effort. We came out slow and played lazy as if we had nothing to play for because we were the Division winner and it was already a wrap. The next week when the chips were all in we pulled off a miracle win that left the whole country WOW’D and cheering for us.
    I believe we can win this if we play up to our ability, play fast, and with the intensity befitting us as the reigning Division Champions. They are the perfect team for us to play now, just as we were the team the Bills needed to play. We most definitely will be tested but the rust is coming off. As you pointed out, they have had their struggles too, so this is our opportunity to really put up or shut up. Historically we have played best when having to play up to our opponent so LET’S GO CARDS & PROTECT OUR NEST!

  24. By Scott H on Oct 20, 2016 | Reply

    clssy –

    I have to disagree with some of that. My saying that the Seahawks looked like the better team in Week 17 last year is based on nothing but my perception that they DID look like the better team. I was there. Yeah, just one game, but….it wasn’t even close. AND, sadly, that turned out to not just be a one-game performance. The way the Cards played carried over through the rest of the playoffs, through the pre-season, and then into the start of this season. But I don’t have to tell you that, you’ve said plenty that has reflected the same.

    There is just SOMETHING that happens when the Seahawks come into this building, at least for the last 3 years. The last two games here? They out=scored us by a combined score of – ready for this? – 71-12. There is NO other way to look at those numbers. And it’s NOT really that I think the Seahawks are THAT much better than the Cardinals. There is just SOMETHING that comes over the Cardinals in these games where they don’t even give themselves a chance. They get behind early, they seemed stunned, and they just never snap out of it.

    It HAS to change. This is NOT OK.

  25. By clssylssy on Oct 21, 2016 | Reply

    Oh, I don’t disagree with you, certainly those numbers don’t lie. But, I do believe that the Seahawks DO have a certain mindset and personna that exudes confidence and, nowhere is that more evidence than when they play the Cards, be it the last game of the season(with nothing on the line) or in the first part of the season. I think that is a phenomenon that has come about fairly recently, and since they went to back-to-back SBs, I remember when we use to beat them on a regular basis at UofP stadium (we have good friends who are Hawks fans and would go to the game with us only to sit in dejected silence). We were also the first team to go into their house and win when nobody else could and we didn’t even have a legit QB!
    Depending on how Carson is doing this week and our QB situation (still hasn’t practiced except in “limited” way), I think we may have enough pep in our step from the win Monday night, that we can match the Seahawks confidence and intensity at this point if we don’t allow them to get into our heads. As you pointed out they have had their issues too, and the timing may be just right.
    I do think that DJ is for real and stopping the run will be a focus for the Hawks as we have already demonstrated that our signature passing game is yesterday’s news (our WRs now rank behind the Redskins!). Sure wish we had Chris Johnson about now or a secret weapon in the form of Penny). Of course they will double team Fitz and probably Brown but we are also going to have to defuse Graham who wasn’t much of a factor before, as well as the usual culprits.
    Thought of you last night when Hoyer went down and Matt Barkley had to go in against GB after never having taken any reps with the 1st team…did better than expected but still an ugly game! Barkley might have more untapped ability than we gave him credit for!
    Last year the Hawks came in and humiliated us at home because they were the better team that day; if we have our head in the game and don’t allow them to make us the victim, this time could be different. Got to think like Champions if we want to be Champions! WE CAN DO THIS!

  26. By Scott H on Oct 21, 2016 | Reply

    clssy –

    All very well said. I hear you. I think THE key to getting a different result against the Seahawks is to limit Russell Wilson by keeping him off the field. And nothing about that will be easy because to keep Wilson off the field, you have to be keeping your offense ON the field against that defense. And how do you do that? By doing exactly what we did against the Jets ( also a very tough D, by the way ) in the 2nd half – play ball control with time-consuming drives that end in scores. Stay with the run game. Keep the game close so you CAN stay with the running game. Use your TE’s in the short middle of the field. Do the things that back off the pass rush and pressure on your QB.

    We know now that we CAN play this kind of game and that we can do it very effectively. The big plays are sexy but….I gotta tell ya, it was those long, time consuming drives that were turning me on last week!

    Win the battles of field position and time of possession and you will go a long way toward winning the game.

    PS – and still go for the big plays when the time is right! Would LOVE to see one of those 75 yard bombs to Smoky or Floyd in this game. Been too long since we saw Smoky do that crazy dance!

  27. By Joseph Robinett (Lightwing) on Oct 21, 2016 | Reply

    Hello, Mr. Scott H., I appreciate your analytical depth, and, yet, while I was reading through your sharp communications I had a strong personal feeling about what is really the most important thing in living this life? So, I have to thank you, sincerely, for facilitating this feeling of remembering to give my best to living in the present, instead of living in the past, and, thus, reliving those previous experiences.

    I know I’ve heard a number of Cardinal players talk about living in the present, and not looking back, and taking it one game at a time, one play at a time, and so on. I believe in my team remaining loyal to their words, materializing into deeds when the future of Sunday night, and the Seahawks, comes to The Nest. It is so very interesting that in the game of football there really is the game of this most amazing and sometimes absurd life.


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