The Arizona Cardinals’ 2017 season has started off as badly as anybody could’ve imagined. Not only did they lose 35-23 against the Detroit Lions, but star running back David Johnson suffered a serious wrist injury.
Pro Football Talk reports that the initial diagnosis is a dislocated wrist. If this injury is confirmed, Johnson will need surgery and would be put on injured reserve.
Any player on IR must miss a minimum of eight games.
T.J. Logan Has the Same Injury
Arizona also lost rookie running back T.J. Logan to a dislocated wrist earlier this season. Logan was put on IR and is expected to miss 8-12 weeks
Again, Johnson’s injury hasn’t been confirmed. But he’ll be looking at the same type of recovery time if he indeed has a dislocated wrist.
Who will Replace Johnson at Running Back?
The 25-year-old is perhaps the best dual-threat running back in the league. He proved this by rushing for 1,293 yards on 293 carries (4.2 YPC), and adding another 879 receiving yards on 80 catches. Johnson also scored a combined 20 touchdowns through the ground and air.
He’s a big reason why last year’s team went 7-8-1 and avoided what could’ve been a dreadful season. A committee is expected to replace some of Johnson’s production.
Kerwynn Williams is slated for between the tackles running. The four-year veteran has 555 career rushing yards and a strong 5.4 YPC average. But he tallied just 10 rushing yards on 5 carries against the Lions.
Andre Ellington is a nice receiving back who’s been with Arizona for five seasons. He totaled over 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in both 2013 and 2014.
But he’s had a very limited role ever since Johnson’s emergence in 2015. He didn’t receive a carry against Detroit and had 3 receiving yards on two catches.
One more option includes bringing back Chris Johnson, who was cut in the summer. Here’s what Pro Football Focus writes:
“As for the potential vacancy at running back, [coach Bruce] Arians opened the door to the possibility of veteran Chris Johnson returning. He hasn’t been able to stay well enough to produce, but he’s developed some trust with the coaches there, and if Johnson’s out an extended amount of time, they’ll need all the known commodities they can find.”
A 10-year veteran, Johnson is far from the star running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons in Tennessee.
But he had a solid year with Arizona in 2015, running for 814 yards on 196 carries (4.2 YPC). Johnson only played in four games last season, which is one reason why he got cut this summer.
Analysis of Arizona’s Performance vs. Detroit
They played really poorly on offense despite racking up 23 points.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was the biggest culprit, completing just 56.3% of his passes and throwing three interceptions. At 37 years old, there are plenty of questions on how effective Palmer can be if he continues starting.
He put the loss on himself in the post-game press conference.
“I just didn’t do a good enough job,” said Palmer. “I put that solely on myself. I’m disappointed in myself. I just felt like had I made a handful of throws, we would have been in a different position.”
It’ll be even tougher for the aging QB to make these throws if he doesn’t have Johnson helping on offense.
Prediction on Indianapolis Game Next Week
Palmer can’t wait to get on the field and face the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
“We will get past it. I will get past it,” Palmer said. “We’ve got another big road game playing in another environment similar to this next week [in Indianapolis].
“Sunday can’t come fast enough. We’ve got to get the work done, but at the same time, I can’t wait to get this taste out of my mouth and move past this.”
There’s good reason why he can’t wait to play the Colts – they’re terrible.
Indianapolis was blown out 46-9 by the Los Angeles Rams in LA. They’ll be returning home to face the Cardinals and could provide some resistance.
But Indy is currently without franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, who’s still healing from offseaon shoulder surgery. Luck is even more important to the Colts than Johnson is to the Cardinals.
Indianapolis will likely start Jacoby Brissett, who replaced the ineffective Scott Tolzien on Sunday. He looked solid with 2-of-3 passing and 51 yards. But that was in a blowout game with little meaning.
It’ll be interesting to see how Brissett fares against the Cardinals’ starting defensive unit.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts Odds
Even without Johnson, we still have Arizona as a big favorite over Indianapolis. Here’s a look at next week’s line on our GTBets sportsbook:
- Arizona -7.5 (-106), -330 money line
- Indianapolis +7.5 (-114), +265 money line
- Over/Under 44 (-110)
The Cardinals may have a tough road ahead without Johnson. But my guess is that they can beat Indianapolis by more than eight points next week.
The Colts are going to be one of the worst teams in football until they can get Luck back onto the field. Their defense and running game aren’t great, and now their passing game is lacking too.