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Plenty Of Offensive Change, But David Johnson Is Still The Key

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but David Johnson will be a major key to the Cardinals' offense.

Obviously, Kyler Murray, by the mere fact of his position, will have a great impact. This is a quarterback-driven league, period. The Cardinals have had to work hard on their wide receivers room as well, and that will matter. But Johnson, the man who wants to reach 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving and frankly, has shown the ability to challenge that, remains -- to my way of thinking -- the linchpin of it all.

It's odd to think how long ago it's been since Johnson dominated in 2016. But we are two full seasons removed from that, 2017 lost to Johnson when he broke his wrist in the opener and 2018 lost to, well, just about everyone on the Cardinals with the way that all played out. The contract talk is well in the past now. The Cardinals have an offensive head coach in place. If there is a time for Johnson to recreate or improve upon 2016, this may just be it.

Kliff Kingsbury remains vague when he talks about Johnson (or any of the offense, for that matter). He only says the Cards will put Johnson in the right positions to make plays. True, there must be better blocking for him up front, giving Johnson at least some creases within which to run. But as down of a season as Johnson had, he still had 940 yards on the ground and 50 receptions for a team that did very, very little offensively. I do expect Johnson to be featured more in the passing game (he had 80 catches in his big 2016 season) and the Cards have to get that 3.6 yards-per-carry average up. But Johnson is in his prime. He is the guy -- especially with Murray as a rookie -- who will ultimately be the bellwether of where this offense can go.

RB David Johnson in 2019 Phase Two drill for blog post