David Johnson has never dealt with a back injury before, and judging by the way he answered questions about it Friday, it’s probable that the Cardinals running back would rather not have to deal with it again.
“It was just tight – felt tight – and now it’s good to go,” Johnson said Friday, although he later added he doesn’t know if he will play for sure.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Johnson will be a game-day decision, not unexpected with an issue like a back that could flare up.
“Hopefully,” Kingsbury said, “we can get him all the way there.”
Not having Johnson wouldn’t be ideal heading into Sunday’s home game against the Falcons, although backup Chase Edmonds is coming off an excellent game (68 yards on eight carries and another three receptions for 18 yards) and has known all week he might get a heavier workload whether or not Johnson dresses.
“I try to prepare myself the same every week, going in and preparing like I’ll get all the touches because that’s the mindset you have to have in the NFL,” Edmonds said. “However many touches that I get is what I get. I have a saying, ‘Do more with less.’ So whether it is five carries, three carries, one or seven, find a way to do more with it.”
Edmonds capped his day last week with a 37-yard touchdown run, showing off his quickness and speed down the sideline.
“I want to find myself as a dynamic playmaker for this offense, so I need to continue to build on it,” Edmonds said.
Johnson was dealing with the back tightness during the Bengals’ game, making his performance – 91 yards rushing on 17 carries, a team-best 65 yards receiving on three catches – even more remarkable. Johnson dismissed any frustration about having an injury just when he was finding a groove – “It’s the NFL, injuries happen (and) it’s really just how you play with injuries,” he said – and hoped he could repeat it again Sunday.
“I think coaches really go with what’s working,” Johnson said. “The running game was really successful well last week, and hopefully we can continue that.”
TERRELL SUGGS, CHRISTIAN KIRK AMONG THE GAME-DAY CHOICES
Johnson wasn’t the only key injury for the Cardinals. Kingsbury said wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (back) are also game-day decisions. Kirk’s speed and straight-line running is fine, Kingsbury said, but the Cardinals want to make sure he can cut.
Suggs has not practiced since a week ago Wednesday, although he did play in Cincinnati.
The Cardinals could be short at linebacker. Suggs is questionable, as is starting inside linebacker Haason Reddick (shoulder). Backups Dennis Gardeck (ankle) and Ezekiel Turner (hamstring) are already out.
“We’d obviously like to have more depth, but we have some answers there if some things happen and we’ll make it work,” Kingsbury said.
The healthy linebackers are Jordan Hicks, Cassius Marsh, Brooks Reed and Ramik Wilson.
More game-day questionables for the Cardinals are defensive lineman Zach Allen (shoulder), wide receiver Damiere Byrd (hamstring), punter Andy Lee (hip) and cornerback Trevor Williams (hip). Safety Charles Washington (shoulder) is out, and Allen regressed to a DNP Friday.
For the Falcons, cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (toe) and Blidi Wreh-Wilson (groin) and punter Matt Wile (quad) are all out – meaning the Falcons have to sign a punter for Sunday, unless kicker Matt Bryant takes over those duties.
CHRIS JONES BACK ON PRACTICE SQUAD
The Cardinals re-signed cornerback Chris Jones to the practice squad Friday after releasing him from the 53-man roster earlier this week. To make room, the Cards cut cornerback Andre Chachere.
Images from practice at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center.