‘Tis the season…for NFL injuries.
Much like holiday songs and crowded malls NFL casualties are commonplace this time of year and can be a longer list than Santa’s. The Arizona Cardinals certainly aren’t immune to the bug losing starting running back Chris Johnson to a fractured tibia in Sunday’s win over the 49ers. Making matters worse backup Andre Ellington left with turf toe.
Now the bulk of the workload will be carried on the broad shoulders of rookie David Johnson.
Reason for concern BirdGang?
Not necessarily according to one long-time NFL insider.
“I’ve always been under the impression that the running back position,” SI.com Senior NFL Writer Peter King explained to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview. “Is the easiest of all of them on the field to replace and to remain at say a B [grade] level.”
King believes losing a key figure on the offensive line can be more damaging to the continuity and effectiveness of an offense than losing a running back, or in Arizona’s case, two running backs.
In fact, there’s already been a case study in 2015.
“When the Kansas City Chiefs, I believe in Week 5, lost Jamaal Charles for the year,” King said. “So they basically have been playing without Jamaal Charles for the last six weeks. They’ve won five of their last six and they’ve done it with running backs you’ve never heard of.”
Bruce Arians and his staff will also lean more on veteran Stepfan Taylor to contribute in the run game. The former Stanford star is familiar with Arians’ system and will likely add stability to a position in need as the Cards enter the final quarter of the regular season.
Arizona is back on the road looking for a little revenge against the struggling St. Louis Rams who dealt the Cardinals one of their two losses two months ago in Glendale.