Seth put out an article yesterday about how poor of a job the team has done of using their best offensive weapon — David Johnson. After reading that, I sat down and listened to the Monday afternoon press conference with Coach Wilks where he emphasized that the team has to do a better job of getting Johnson the ball, especially as a receiver out in the slot or even out wide. He also stated that they plan on “scaling back” the offense, which is essentially the opposite of what needs to be done.
There weren’t any specific comments made as to how they plan on implementing that into their game plan, but everyone is well aware of how badly it needs to happen. And the person that should be the most upset is David Johnson himself.
With a new contract in hand, Johnson is looked at as a veteran, a franchise cornerstone and a leader on this team. It’s time he put that leadership into action and demand more from his offense.
Johnson knows he is the most capable player on the team with the ball in his hands and, although it may be uncomfortable given his relatively lax demeanor, he needs to be in offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s ear about getting the ball. 11 targets resulting in 6 catches for 33 yards over two games just isn’t enough.
The same goes for Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz, always a guy that would rather show it on the field as opposed to getting in someone’s face, is still the best wide receiver option the Cardinals have at the age of 35. If he wants to close out his career with a team that can at least be competitive in games, it needs to start with him.
The offense, as it stands, is far too basic and bland. David Johnson isn’t getting moved around enough. Simple slants and curls are being employed far too often. Pieces within the wide receiver, running back and tight end rooms are not being utilized properly.
Why not line both Chase Edmonds and David Johnson up together in the backfield? Or put one in the slot and the other in the backfield? Why not try to push the ball downfield (for once) to J.J. Nelson? What was the point of keeping him on the roster if you aren’t going to do that? Christian Kirk has already shown that he can be electric in space. Why not run a sweep to him or throw him a wide receiver screen?
These seem like relatively simple fixes that could easily be employed, but someone needs to stand up and call for the ball. Whether it’s Johnson, Fitz, Kirk or whoever... the time is now for someone to stand up and get angry. The only way to combat this vanilla playcalling that has only landed the Cardinals 6 points through 2 games is to fight it with some fire.