Cardinals' Bruce Arians aiming for David Johnson to get 30 touches per game
That would result in the second-most touches in a single NFL season
Despite missing most of Week 17 with a knee injury (he’s fully recovered, by the way), David Johnson led the league with 373 touches last season. And if Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has his way, Johnson will get more than 100 more touches in 2017.
Rejoice, Fantasy footballers! At the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, Arians revealed that he’s aiming for Johnson to average 30 touches per game.
“I want to have 30 touches out of him, if possible, because that’s going to be a lot of offense,” Arians said, via ESPN. “When he has his hand on the ball, either as a wide receiver, coming out of the backfield, in the slot, and running, that’s a lot of potential offense for us.”
But isn’t Arians worried about overworking his best player?
“He’s still too young to overuse,” Arians said.
This is a potentially awesome development from a short-term perspective. Johnson is arguably the best all-around back in football (Le’Veon Bell is also in the discussion), and he turned those 373 touches last season into a league-high 2,118 yards from scrimmage, which means he averaged 5.68 yards per touch.
If he were to get 30 touches per game and averaged 5.68 yards per touch next season, he would rack up roughly 2,726 yards from scrimmage, which would break Chris Johnson’s single-season record of 2,509 yards in 2009.
Obvoiusly, there’s no guarantee that Johnson can match his production from a year ago. There’s also no guarantee that Johnson will average 30 touches per game, because it’s pretty uncommon. If Johnson gets 30 touches per game, he’d finish just short of James Wilder’s single-season record of 492 touches with the Buccaneers in 1984. No other player has averaged 30 touches per game in a season
Plus, as ESPN’s Bill Barnwell pointed out, it didn’t work out so great for the 1984 Buccaneers.
From a long-term perspective, this has the potential to be not-so-great for Johnson’s health. Hopefully, Arians knows what he’s doing and doesn’t risk Johnson’s long-term health. At 25, Johnson is already one of the game’s best playmakers.
I’d imagine Arians would like him to maintain that status in the years to come.
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