The case for David Johnson’s 1,000-1,000

Posted by Darren Urban on December 14, 2016 – 10:34 am

The Cardinals will still play to win the games. Bruce Arians said it, and I’m sure Herm Edwards approves. But there are other things to look at besides results when the postseason isn’t really in play. One of those things is David Johnson’s quest to become the third player to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.

Johnson already has 1,000 yards rushing, at 1,085 to be exact. It is in the receiving column where he faces the uphill climb — he has 745 yards (on 69 catches), and gaining 255 yards through the air in the last three games isn’t a given. But it’s not impossible, either. There are reasons to think the Cardinals will push for it, at least in an attempt to get it done.

— I’ve had more than a few fans ask about powering down Johnson’s touches over the last three games, to protect him for the future. I don’t see that happening, not if you are playing to win games. He’s their best player — you’ll need him.
— With all the wide receiver woes right now — Michael Floyd’s issues on and off the field, Smokey Brown’s leg problems, even Larry Fitzgerald battling aches and pains — Johnson is clearly one of the team’s better pass catchers. Forget his own stats, he’s necessary in the aerial game.
— Because he is your best player and your best runner, teams gear up to stop him in the run. The pass game is the easiest way to circumvent that and still have him make a difference.
— Oh, and Johnson wants to reach that double mark too.

I’m not saying the Cardinals will target him 15 times a game, the rest of the game plan and/or defense be damned, just to reach that mark. But that’s the best part about this whole thing — the Cards don’t have to do a whole lot out of the ordinary. In the first six games of the season, Johnson had no more than four catches in a game. Since then — seven games — Johnson has never had fewer than five catches in a game, and at least seven five times. This still could come organically, and that’d be the best way for it to happen and for Johnson to join Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig.

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