This is the next in a series of articles that attempts to shine a light on how various teams really do use their backs and what we can surmise about them going forwards. Today we focus on the NFC West.
This division has a reputation as a pass-happy one but there’s some really diverse running games here. Let’s delve into them.
The Cardinals running back corps has been a little obscured by the ongoing drama about David Johnson. The first chart on the Cardinals shows just how little Johnson was used after the halfway point of last season:
Obviously, he was hurt and missed some games, but it was also clear after he returned that he just was not a big part of the offense. And when he did get used, he was unimpressive. It’s certainly possible that he was never a 100 percent fit and he’ll be used much more in 2020, but it seems unlikely.
He’s likely to be on the roster with over $16 million in dead cap, but we should expect to see Johnson as a complementary piece. This should be no surprise. He’s 28 now (peak running back production age is 25), has seen multiple injuries and his career year back in 2016 seems increasingly distant.
To be a little more positive about Johnson the following chart shows the three backs’ yardage by length of play: