David Johnson is the game breaker who could be able to guide the Arizona Cardinals to an upset of the Chicago Bears. However, the Arizona Cardinals have him caged up right now and are making the matchup easy to defend
How the Chicago Bears defend David Johnson will be one of the biggest reasons as to whether or not the Chicago Bears roll over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Larry Fitzgerald is great, but David Johnson is the dynamic weapon of the offense. He is the straw that stirs the drink.
Of course, like the entire Arizona Cardinals offense, Johnson has failed to get going in the first two weeks. He has 22 carries for 85 yards this season and six receptions for 33 yards. It begs the question, how has this dynamic weapon been contained?
The fact of the matter is that they are doing it to themselves.
When looking into his carries, it began to get clear that the Arizona Cardinals offense was getting far too predictable with how they were utilizing David Johnson. Look at the carry chart below provided by NextGen Stats.
They are running the ball, predictably right up the gut. The only time he broke any of these carries outside of the hash marks was when he was over five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The red loss to the side was a fumble that he jumped on. This was their plan against Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.
Here is his Week One chart.
His route chart is not pretty either. Of course, from Week Two he does not even have a chart because the team targeted Johnson once in the passing game. However, from Week One, what is worth noting from the chart is how close to the line of scrimmage he was being targeted.
Like Week Two, he was not necessarily being utilized in the passing game. Instead, he was on the side as a check down option.
Comparing to other star running backs
Now, let’s see how a star running backs who would be hard to defend would be used. Todd Gurley‘s running chart is below. He had twenty carries and if you look at all of those little squiggly lines just about ten of them are outside the hashes, and ten are inside. The Rams have a well rounded back and recognize the versatility to use him all over the field for success.
Look at Alvin Kamara, who would be a nightmare to defend in the passing game. In Week One, the New Orleans Saints were utilizing their running back in the passing game, and he was making plays past the line of scrimmage.
David Johnson was a former wide receiver at Northern Iowa. With Le’Veon Bell out of football, David Johnson should be the best receiving back in the NFL. How is he not being used in a similar style to Kamara in an attempt to open up the offense?
Something has to change….right?
On the surface, this is some pretty obvious stuff. The Arizona Cardinals have a swiss army knife and are just using the nail file. Why not open up some of those other tools, and see if they could have some use, right?
Still, it is not necessarily a sure thing that 0-2 and an anemic offense is going to force change to the way this team is running their offense. That can be stated by the teams’ commitment to Sam Bradford for yet another week.
It makes you think that they do not see the same things, or that they are too stubborn to admit that they are wrong. The fact of the matter is that if they do not change the way that they are using David Johnson, the Chicago Bears really will not have to work very hard to shut down a star running back.