Coming out of Sunday the mood had started to change for the Arizona Cardinals. They put together a great offensive game, and are inching closer and closer to putting together a complete offensive game.
They did so without maybe their best wide receiver in Christian Kirk, unquestionably a top two receiver on this team, and leaned heavily on a dynamic, multiple rushing attack.
Balance and creating matchup problems was the key.
One of the things we are seeing more and more of, something this site has been screaming for is using David Johnson and Chase Edmonds together.
It opened things up in a big way on Sunday as the Cardinals, for the first time since 2015, put up over 450 yards of offense.
Yet, all the excitement and momentum could be gone before their next game.
David Johnson is dealing with a back issue that as Coach Kliff Kingsbury said, could sideline him, “It tightened up on him pretty good,” he said during his Monday presser.
“We just have wait and see how he recovers.”
Johnson is not the best pure running back on the roster for the Cardinals, so this could open things up for the second year running back Chase Edmonds, but Johnson is maybe the most important person on the offense outside of Kliff and Kyler.
Johnson is still the best pass catching running back in the NFL and his ability to take advantage of matchups against slower linebackers and smaller safeties continues to put the Cardinals at an advantage.
I’ve advocated that with Johnson’s role should flex to more of an H-Back type. He’s not a pure tight end, he’s not a fullback, but he can play all of those positions in a passing offense while still being a player you can hand the ball off to 10-12 times a game. If you are then targeting Johnson another 10 times a game in the passing game you have the makings of a 20 touch a game player who is able to take advantage of those linebacker and safety matchups.
Now, with Johnson potentially sidelined, likely joining Christian Kirk, the Cardinals are down their biggest matchup advantage.
It may be too much to overcome for a team who already lacks many difference makers on the offensive side of the ball.
It definitely is something to watch moving forward and to see what Wednesday’s injury report says for the Cardinals and Johnson.
Let’s hope for the best.