After being released by the Arizona Cardinals on September 1st, Chris Johnson’s career seemed to be over. But with the injury to star running back David Johnson, CJ2K was brought back but his role with the team was unclear. With his return, he has another chance at getting to the career milestone of 10,000 rushing yards.
The Cardinals went for a running back-by-committee approach in the week two match up with the Indianapolis Colts.
Here was the snap count:
Andre Ellington: 30
Kerwynn Williams: 18
Chris Johnson: 17
Elijhaa Penny: 7
Although Kerwynn Williams was named the starter, he struggled for most of the day (nine carries, 22 yards) and was out snapped by Andre Ellington. The biggest surprise of the game was Chris Johnson. His lack of burst and two fumbles during the preseason was concerning, which resulted to his release. Even with the struggling offensive line, Chris Johnson made the most of his opportunities and led the Cardinals running backs with 44 rushing yards (on 11 carries). Let’s not forget that Chris Johnson had six straight seasons of at least 1000 rushing yards from 2008 to 2013.
His productivity has earned him a bigger role on the offense:
Bruce Arians said RB Chris Johnson's carries will increase this week against the #Cowboys.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 21, 2017
Chris Johnson, 32-years-old, might not be able to run a 4.24 40 yard dash anymore, but his display of speed and power in week two was promising. His knowledge of the Cardinals offense and previous nine seasons of NFL experience makes Chris Johnson a valuable asset to the team. The offensive line remains a mess but Chris Johnson, being his CJ2K self, found a way to make the running game work. With David Johnson sidelined, until, at least, Thanksgiving, the Arizona Cardinals need Chris Johnson more than ever. His solid week two performance was a start. He still has some speed and agility left in the tank.
If Chris Johnson can get the running game going, the Arizona Cardinals will have a good chance at returning to the postseason.
With his 44 rushing yards this past Sunday, he is now 419 yards away from the 10,000 career rushing yard milestone. Let the countdown begin!
Comeback Player of the Year!!! Too soon?
And by the way, Happy Birthday Chris Johnson!!!!
Note: Chris Johnson is not the only running back approaching 10,000 career rushing yards. Matt Forte (9,484), Marshawn Lynch (9,233), and LeSean McCoy (9,073) are not far off. Only 29 running backs in NFL history have accomplished this feat.