Chris Johnson can help Cards’ running game

Arizona's newly signed running back has more left in the tank than you might think.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Chris Johnson can help Cards’ running game

The Cardinals addressed the running back position in this year’s draft with third-round selection David Johnson out of Northern Iowa, but he continues to nurse a hamstring injury that has kept him out of most of training camp. Combine his ailment with those of Marion Grice and Andre Ellington (both hamstrings themselves) and it’s easy to see why the team was in search of depth — which is why it opted to sign veteran Chris Johnson to a one-year deal on Monday.

Long gone is the talk of 2,000-yard seasons for Johnson, who in a backup role with the Jets last year saw only 155 touches, and finished with a rushing grade of -6.2. However, there were signs of optimism in his performance. On a per-snap basis, he was very effective, including ranking tied for 11th in the NFL in yards after contact per carry. He also forced a higher percentage of missed tackles than he had in recent seasons.

None of that is a guarantee he’ll be productive in 2015, but if used in a limited role to spell Ellington and Johnson (whenever they return to the field), he could help out the Cardinals’ running game.

| Analyst

Josh joined PFF as an analyst in 2015. During the season, his primary focus is college football (mainly the Big Ten). He is also heavily involved in PFF's NFL draft coverage. Prior to joining the team, he worked for six years with GM Jr. Scouting, an independent draft scouting service.

  • Ben Fitzgerald

    If he had decent stats, why was his rushing grade bad?

    • Doug Emerson

      Traditionally I know they’ve had issues with Chris Johnson because he is always looking for the home run so while he does have some great runs he also tends take less than what he is given trying to find a bigger hole.