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Chris Johnson Makes His Push To Start

Running back returns after release with solid performance in David Johnson absence


Cardinals running back Chris Johnson came off the bench to gain 44 yards on 11 attempts, leading the team in rushing Sunday.

Chris Johnson waited, believing all along he was good enough to help the Cardinals, believing his abilities as a running back have diminished little.

"I know how I feel," Johnson said Monday. "When you watch the film, when I have the opportunity, you can still see the burst and the speed. It's there."

The Cardinals' first game without starting running back David Johnson was a slog-fest for the offense through the first part of the game. The running game wasn't effective enough in that

time either.

But Johnson, the third back in the game behind starter Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington, found some room to roam. He finished with 44 yards on 11 carries – Williams had 22 yards on nine carries, Ellington 11 yards on two attempts – and earned the second-half start.

"I liked what I saw in Chris," coach Bruce Arians said. "He's more than ready to go."

Arians said Johnson figured to move up the depth chart, but whether he will start, "we'll make that determination later."

Arians noted that Johnson was among the league leaders in rushing in 2015 when he got hurt,

which is what opened the door for David Johnson to burst on the scene in the first place.

Johnson was among the team's final cuts before David Johnson's injury brought him back. General Manager Steve Keim said Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 that Johnson on Sunday "showed that burst that I quite frankly thought was missing in the preseason."

This was never a doubt from Johnson.

"I always know what I can do," he said, adding that running hard was all he could control. Any move up the depth chart was not his decision, and he wasn't going to dwell on it.

Johnson said he approaches the job the same, whether as starter or reserve, is the focus. He hasn't forgotten being cut, but he said it won't impact his production or effort.

"May make it a bigger chip on your shoulder or whatever, but I'm trying not to focus on that too much," Johnson said. "I want to go out here and win at the end of the day."

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