David Johnson has been working on his conditioning – both on the field and at home, where he’s trying to adjust to his second child being born.
Sleep depravation is a battle, and then he’s got David Jr., now 2½.
“Keeps me on my toes,” Johnson said.
The running back will have to be, given that he said the Cardinals were hoping to run “90 or 95 plays a game.”
“With so many plays we’re trying to get in, I’ve got to be conditioned,” Johnson said with a smile.
The Cardinals needed to upgrade the skill talent in order to upgrade the offense, but the key on that side of the ball – after rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, of course – will be a holdover in Johnson. He had 940 yards rushing, 50 catches for another 446 yards and 10 total touchdowns last season, far below the numbers he or anyone else expected from him.
Now in an offense predicated on spreading out defenses and getting the ballcarrier – including Johnson – into space, the fifth-year veteran carries plenty of optimism he can return to form.
“I think it’ll be similar to 2016,” Johnson said, good news for a running back who had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage that season.
Shotgun will likely be more prevalent in this offense, Johnson said, and that’s something that has become apparent with many of the comments players and coach Kliff Kingsbury have made.
“I think I’ll be utilized as both a runner and a receiver,” Johnson said.
How much in each spot, Johnson said he doesn’t know, although Kingsbury – perhaps stating the obvious – said running back is “pivotal” in the offense and Johnson clearly stands atop that room’s food chain.
He still has hopes of becoming a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver, something he fell 121 yards receiving short of in 2016. Within this offense, Johnson believes it’s possible. He just has to make sure his body is ready for the work.
“I think there will be a lot more opportunities to get the ball, a lot more opportunities to score,” Johnson said.