The fast feet of David Johnson

Posted by Darren Urban on December 7, 2016 – 12:50 pm

There are a lot of things to admire about David Johnson’s game. Watching him in the offseason and training camp, it was his hands. The one time heading down the sideline in OTAs, catching the ball on a wheel route above the defender’s head, was memorable even if it was just the summer without pads. The time in camp when he went deep down the field against a linebacker (I don’t recall who) and kept his hands to his side until the last possible moment before — boom! — shooting them up to make the catch, the defender not even realizing the ball was coming because Johnson never gave a sense it was coming.

But then there is a play like the one against Washington, where he is running up the middle and suddenly, it becomes a slalom race for the few yards, except Johnson is moving through live defenders instead of flags. How a guy around 225 pounds is moving like that and moving forward, picking up a chunk of yards, is amazing. His balance is unreal, and his quickness at that size.

I’ve never really watched any video of Johnson in college. Maybe he’s gotten a ton better since April of 2015. But watching him on a daily basis, for him to go in the third round remains a great draft mystery.

UPDATE: Carson Palmer weighed in on the play. “Watched it in slo-mo, four or five times. I was trying to measure how many yards he was covering between bounces. He covered at least three or four yards, and I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’d pop both my Achilles and fracture something in my knee.’ (I thought) how impressive that is and how natural it is for him to do. He does it every game. The play he had in Carolina when he hurdled a guy and then make Luke Kuechly miss when he had him dead to rights. … He makes those plays look easy, and he makes them routine.”


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33 Responses to “The fast feet of David Johnson”

  1. By timtheenchanter1 on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    David “Bill” Johnson

  2. By JTDG on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    The funny thing about his fast feet is how deceiving he is. He doesn’t look like he is moving fast, but is by people. He doesn’t seem like he is making a lot of moves, instead it seems like he is gliding.

    On this run, it looks like he is ready for skiing.

    I had the pleasure to by around guys who I coached in HS, like Leeland McElroy and Jamal Charles, who we just faster than everyone. There speed was obvious.

    But the best runner to come out of the HS, never made it out of Port Arthur because of drugs. But Phillip would run, and we would get on him for not running full speed, till we realized he was running past everyone. He just glided. Marcus Allen has that kind of speed and so does David Johnson. You think he is just jogging and you look up and he is by everyone.

    You add his power and catching ability and that is why he is the best right now.

  3. By kauaicardsfan on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    DJ is truly a blessing for us!
    ” DJ is in the House” !! Let the music play !!!!

  4. By LadyBird04 on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    Watching that play live was amazing. Thank you for putting it up for “review”. DJ is just an amazing player and young man. So pleased he is with the Cardinals.

    As a side note: Arians said David can do everything. Maybe he should see if DJ can hold the ball for the kicker as well….doesn’t seem anyone else can. 🙂

  5. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    That’s awesome!!! The last person I remember who could jump cut like that was Terrell Davis of the Broncos and he turned out to be pretty good.

  6. By Scott H on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    I have done my share of complaining about their recent first round picks but man, oh, man, did they ever get it right with DJ! Such an amazing young man. Plays beyond his years, kinda like Fitz did very early on in his career. Some pretty good shoes to follow in, I’d say!

  7. By Scott A on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    There have been times I’ve had to rewind and rewatch his runs in slow-motion a few times before I make my wife and daughter watch them as well. My girls are not as big of a football fan as I am but sometimes you just have to make sure people take a moment to appreciate something, and someone special. Stay humble and healthy DJ so your name will go up next to Larry’s in the Ring of Honor someday.

  8. By texascard on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    This kid is so special. His feet are great. His rceiving skills are great. His vision and instincts can take him to a special place. This year is such a mystery to me. I really thought this was a super bowl caliber team. It just cant be as simple as a couple of made fgs and a better punt average and we go deep in playoffs? Can it? ps. M floyd you are killing me!

  9. By Jon Elder on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    To think that this wasn’t even the guy they wanted. We get Golden and David Johnson virtually by accident back to back. Can we NOT get the players our scout team wants more often? Because their track record without these two picks is looking damn spotty.

  10. By creditcard on Dec 7, 2016 | Reply

    Fast feet but also great hip movement. Notice the left side of the line, each O-lineman was sustaining their block and running downfield. I’ve been critical of the O-line, but on that play they opened a nice hole, and continued to block and block downfield.

    Nice all the way around

  11. By Dan on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    What is better than his feet?? His vision and anticipation.

  12. By Scott H on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    texascard –

    Loved your “ps” in the previous post! Funny….

  13. By mitchaz on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply


    Would like to know your reaction to this article and your on-going critique of Steve Keim’s drafts. Humphries, Golden, Johnson, Gunter and Nelson—your take?

  14. By Scott H on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    Watching this video clip, I feel like I’m watching a little kid, just skipping his way through and around his friends as they try to catch him! NOT easy for a pro football player to look like THAT. But he does.

  15. By NYCardinals on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    “There are a lot of things to admire about David Johnson’s game.”

    I am disgusted by your implications, Darren! You say “a lot of things”, but this just gives me the impression he’s doing “a lot of things” wrong too. Are you holding back information? What have the coaches told you in private? Is Steve Keim planning a coup? Is Drew Butler a Russian propagandist? Why did Anthony Edwards quite acting and become Senior Director of Player Development?

  16. By clssylssy on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    What a great talent, and even better person. Fitting that he should be a Cardinal in such company as the Legend Larry Fitzgerald! Hopefully, we won’t burn him out in just a few years and he can have an Adrian Peterson kind of career (relatively long and productive) in a Card’s uniform, continuing to set records.
    It would be nice if we could get behind all of our talented young players and give them the kind of support we seem to reserve for one a year. i have to wonder if part of Tyrann’s slowness in getting back on the field is losing the spotlight to DJ.
    Not every young player is as selfless as Fitz has been because they are just beginning to build their careers and this is a heartless business. The Cards have been horrible when it comes to stepping on egoes, which is why we’d never see Anquan Boldin in a Cards uniform again even if Hell froze over! We need to learn from our mistakes both on an off the field! And we need to use all of our talent in concert rather than locking on to a single player; if we spread things around it cuts the risk to individuals, helping to insure longevity and maximizing our po
    rather than painting a target on the back of our best players.

  17. By D on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    No, D doesn’t stand for downer, but this question may evoke some pessimism…

    Darren, we all see how loyal BA is to his players. It’s great when things are going good, but as we all can see from the expectations for this year and the current record, it’s shocking/disappointing. (one could make the argument that this season for AZ is more disastrous than Cleveland’s) If the Cards finish below 500, or even 8-7-1, do you see Mr. Keim making a assistant coaching changes even if BA doesn’t want to?

    A rookie long snapper at the start of the season and a below average punter kept around only because he can hold for the extra point, decisions that the fan base would like to see someone being held accountable.

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Assistants

    Keim can make suggestions, but I feel confident (although I am not 100 percent certain) that Arians has contractual control over his staff.

  19. By JTDG on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply


    I look at the draft in it’s entirely. So this will be long. Let me try to explain something. Here were Rod Graves first two drafts.

    In 2003 and 2004, the cards landed in the draft Boldin, Hayes, Fitz, Dansby, Dockett, Smith, and Wells.

    In those two years, the cards landed the cornerstone of the superbowl team. You have your two inside LBs, 2 HOF receivers, 2 DEs and a guard.
    We really only had Adrian Wilson on the team to add to them. They signed Berry and Warner and eventually, this bunch took us to the superbowl.

    But in 2005, a good draft to get players, the cards only get Rolle. Rolle was big, but Graves missed bad that year. In 2006, they added Lutui and JJ arrington (really not much) in another great draft. Finally in 2007, they added Breaston and Levi Brown.

    Point is, Graves first two drafts netted a team that would grow into a superbowl team. But his next 3 drafts were the reason nothing was sustained.

    So, whether you agree with me on Humphries (who I think is an average Tackle), and Gunter, (who will only be a rotational guy), while saying DJ and Golden are homeruns, doesn’t matter.

    Problem is, 2013 was a weak draft. It might be very possible that in 4 years, only the oft injured Badger will be left.

    2014 has an undersized LB who seems to be showing the wear of playing inside and a receiver who may or may not come back from a bad disease.

    2016 has huge question marks. I get it takes time, but most of the DLineman picked after Nkemdichi are playing well. I really saw nothing in Williams that says he will make it, and Boehm can’t beat out a guy who shouldn’t be starting. And even if Shippley was awesome, you would think, like most centers, that Boehm could slide to RG. But they are using guys off the street over him.

    So, back to 2008. The cards had a good base. They just needed a good cover corner and they grabbed him in DRC. Off to the superbowl.

    So, think back to 2013. The cards already had Fitz , Massie, Sendlin,and a good Floyd, the defense had Dockett, Dan Williams, CC, Peterson, Dwash, Rashad Johnson.

    They had a good base. They needed to fill in the holes. They needed a QB, which was filled with the trade for Palmer. They signed Dansby to fill the roll of ILB with DWash ( a one year deal that proved costly- as we have been looking for LBs ever since). But the four big holes were oline, CB, passrush and safety. Give us a safety, a passrusher, CB and fix the oline.

    So, we took a chance and Abraham worked for 2013 only. But our Oline and safety spots were misses. Matheu is not a true safety, just like Bucannon isn’t a dollar linebacker. Badger was a slot CB. We turned to a 37 year old Yeramiah Bell at safety who cost us in at least two games. We then missed with both our olineman. We had a slot CB in Powers out at CB. We missed the playoffs.

    In 2014, Keim saw we had a huge hole at safety and decided to draft Bucannon. Thinking he could fill the role Wilson had filled for so many years. He thought he had his ILB in Minter and let Dansby walk. He signed Veldheer but counted on his draft picks to come through on the line. Neither olineman could step up, leaving a huge hole on the line. His ILB couldn’t step up either and he had to bring Foote in who was about to retire. His safety now had to step in at ILB because of the DWash issue and Badger had to play a spot he was ineffective at (safety). We also lost Abraham and had no answer to OLB. Still, the base of Fitz, Floyd and Palmer and others were good enough to get to the playoffs.

    In 2015, Keim decided cooper was on his last leg and brought in Iupati, while Watford and Cooper could battle for RG. He could not figure out center and cut Seindlin and then brought him back. His ILB spot was no better as he had to stick with his safety there. He still had issues at Safety and pass rush or CB

    Yes, he hit with Golden and David Johnson, Gunter is a nice backup and again Humphries has shown to be an average tackle. But be honest, what if Keim had his way and took Abdullah, the player he wanted in round 2? Uhhg.

    The game against the Panthers was ugly. We couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t protect Palmer, the defense were manhandled. They needed fuel to get over the hump.

    But going into 2016, he still needed a LB, Cb, oline and passrush (passrush was addressed with a trade). He fixed nothing other than passrush. And thus, we are in a struggle for .500.

    2017? Our base is aging, our safeties may walk, Cambell may be gone, Floyd gone, the Oline is still a mess, our LBs are still an issue, and we have nothing at CB signed to the team for next year.

    We were close and Keim missed every year at the spots needed. Keim is trying, but is like a dog chasing his tail. So, yes, we got a couple players in 2015. yay.

    A draft pick or even a draft class will not have me change my mind that Keim really missed this window of opportunity. Just an FYI, Keim became Director of Player Personnel in 2008, making him Graves right hand man for the great 2009-2012 drafts.

  20. By mal on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply


    By gosh you’ve finally fallen in line! Yes, Darren writes in triple entendre, Keim and BA scheme for the Cards to fail, and Butler is a soulless Russian agent.

    And Darren Urban’s secret Christmas wish? For Darryl Washington to become a punter. (endless copy)

  21. By JTDG on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    Someone was mentioning the blocking in the video above.

    What I noticed was Iupati pulled on the play to the right and picked up the LB in the hole (#51)

    Ulrick John is on the ground, just out of the picture, but was able to kick out Kerrigan. #93

    It looks like Wetzel doubled with Shipey on a combo block with #99 and then slide to the next level where his LB is on the ground. Don’t know if he got tangled and fell or if Wetzel put him there.

    Humphries is chasing his guy, #90 down the field , #90 may have been the guy who knocked down the Lb by trying to pursuit to ball.

    Gresham flashes across the screen driving the safety out of the hole, while John Brown is doing enough to get his guy.

    If Floyd could have held his block longer, DJ has just one guy to beat. And I like those odds.

    On a play like this, you see how important every lineman and receiver is. If Iupati doesn’t get #51, DJ is stuffed in the back field. If John doesn’t kick out #93, there is no hole, If Gresham doesn’t remove the safety, it is a short gain. If Wetzel doesn’t blow seal that double team, Iupati can’t get to #51 and DJ is stuffed for a loss.

    Because all the lineman, TEs and Receivers on this play did their job, DJ gets to do his thing.

  22. By kauaicardsfan on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    DJ still needs a good catchy name.

    How about David ” Sweet Feet” Johnson?? Not sure if that name is taken?

    Also Mahalo Darren for hearing the fans ( rant and complain) and also respond, makes us feel that we are being heard.

    Also Thanks for the little tidbit from Cardinals Underground 🙂


  23. By clssylssy on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    I thought the “nickname” had been decided (according to the TV broadcasters by Cards fans) as “The Humble Rumble”?

  24. By Darren Urban on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Humble Rumble

    This is true. Via social media, that had been suggested and that’s the one Johnson picked.

  25. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 8, 2016 | Reply

    “The Humble Rumble”??? Sounds a bit weak to me and I hope it does not catch on. Johnson is very explosive so I think “Dynamite” Johnson would be more suitable if a nickname is necessary…and I don’t think it is.

  26. By CardsNation on Dec 9, 2016 | Reply

    – JTDG

    I do agree on some of your comments, you made some grade points. However, nobody is perfect at drafting. Keim fixed the o-line, but he can’t expect everyone to be healthy. You have Veldheer who is dynamic, Mike L. pro bowler, AQ who is consistent, Evan Mathis, good run blocker and pro bowler, and DJ on the right side Just by looking at the names, it’s a good offensive line, Right? Last year, our offensive line is actually decent. I think ILB is not a huge issue to the team and it’s not something we should focus on primarily.

    Nkemdiche had many issues in college. Without those issues, he won’t fall and I bet other teams would like to draft him. His talent is not the reason why he slipped. The cardinals spend a lot of time talking with him and yes, he changed but he is still immature.

    Yes, he needs to get better at drafting and I trust Keim that he will learn from his mistakes. 2016 draft class is overall a bust but we got Chandler Jones and he is something valuable.

    We need to fix o-line issue through free agent, not the draft. I don’t trust rookie linemen, It always takes time for them to learn, we need someone who has already proven that he is a good guard or tackle.

    -If we could protect Carson Palmer, he is a perfect QB.

    -We should draft a tall, physical, and speedy WR in the draft.

    -We need to draft a CB without issue in college and teachable.

  27. By Paul on Dec 9, 2016 | Reply

    Why am I getting this ominous feeling that he’s going to get injured next year…

  28. By JTDG on Dec 9, 2016 | Reply


    You can always find the good and bad in every case. I mean, I could make a case that BA is winning with Rod Graves’ guys.

    After all, Fitz, Floyd, Campbell, Dockett, Peterson, Dan Williams, Sendlin, Dansby, Washington, R. Johnson, Massie all played important roles for BA on this run and were drafted by Graves. .

    While Graves in 2005 signed Warner and got to the Superbowl, he could never find a QB after Warner, which was a huge reason for the tough times from 2010-2012. (along with horrible drafts – Don’t forget Keim was Director of Player personnel during that time) Had Graves grabbed Dalton in 2011 or Wilson in 2012, I believe he would still be the GM even with his poor drafts.

    You see, it is all about winning the superbowl. It isn’t about winning games or getting some picks right and some picks wrong.

    2015, we were a game away from the goal. We struggled against the panthers in every area, but things that stood out was our passrush, CBs, FS, and OLine.

    I will give Keim credit for taking the patriots call and making the trade for Chandler Jones. I will say he tried with the FS in Branch, although he isn’t good enough.
    I will even give him credit for Mathis, who unfortunately got hurt.

    But to march out Bethel, Williams, and Jenkins, three unproven guys (and in the case of Jenkins and Bethel – showed they weren’t that good) is unacceptable. For two years, he has needed a CB and didn’t make the moves needed.

    Then, to plug in Shipley at center was another huge blunder. With a probowl free agent like Alex Mack available, you go with a career backup?

    You could also talk about special teams blunders (punters, long snappers, and coverage) How do you go in with a shaky long snapper and a terrible punter and think that is OK?

    These are blunders that cost teams their season. You can’t do that and keep your job. Not if I was the owner.

    So, think of 2013, we needed a passrush, QB, Guards and center, safeties, a LB, and another CB.

    In 2017, we need another CB, guards and center, safeties, LB, and with Rucker and Campbell most likely leaving, defensive lineman.

    So how is that a good job?

  29. By Matthew Davidson on Dec 10, 2016 | Reply

    We’ve been waiting so long for a Back like Johnson. It’s an honour to watch this guy play in that Cardinal jersey.

    Love seeing where this team is going.

    Long may Arians & Keim work together in the desert!

  30. By clssylssy on Dec 10, 2016 | Reply

    In all fairness to Keim, I will give him credit last season for getting some really solid semi-retired pro-bowl and excellent playmakers signed, on incentive contracts for practically nothing, who made the difference…Chris Johnson, Dwight Freeney, Corey Redding. I expected him to be able to follow up this success this year when players started dropping from injury (which they always are going to do) but….NOTHING. Oh, he brought in a couple guys to plug a hole at Corner, but nothing substantial that solved the problem. It was like he had no plan, or no interest; and, every playoff contender team always has a backup plan for injuries and aggressively goes to work fixing the problem.
    Overall, in another organization this kind of performance wouldn’t be acceptable. Graves was a better GM and he finally got the hook!

  31. By clssylssy on Dec 10, 2016 | Reply

    Today I see that the Browns and Patriots are in discussions over a possible trade of Jimmy Garoppolo? My first reaction, “Why aren’t the Cards ever in these discussions?” With the QB talent Kleenex thin across the league, and the talent coming out of college dismal (according to Kurt Warner, who I feel would know) it would seem like a good GM would be beating the bushes, sending up signals, and burning up the cellphone minutes, trying to find possible solutions to our QB needs for the future.
    I’m sure the answer is going to come back to Garoppolo wanting more money than we are willing to pay a backup (anybody will be a backup for the next year or so learning BAs system) which comes down to basically we want to get somebody on the cheap (nevermind we have just given a heafty contract to a player who has essentially sit out injured the majority of the season, on the “hope” he’ll be the magic bullet for our defense).
    We saw what Garoppolo can do and BA had great praise for him, but, it’s as much the appearance that Keim is not exactly an “action” kind of guy in going out and making deals which may account for the “sluggish” mentality we’ve seen at times this year from the team.
    We teach by example, and it starts at the top!

  32. By Dan on Dec 10, 2016 | Reply

    How about “The Deception” or Deception or The Diamond, like Diamond in the Rough……..just call him Diamond for short.

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