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Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson had his best week of practice this season, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday, following a late-game benching last weekend.
But that wasn’t enough for Kingsbury to install Johnson as the clear-cut starting running back.
Johnson will continue to split snaps and touches with Kenyan Drake, whom Arizona acquired on Oct. 28. Drake has 145 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries in his two games with the Cardinals.
Johnson, who returned Sunday after missing the previous two games and the majority of a third, had just 2 yards on five carries against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
“It’ll be by committee,” Kingsbury said. “Both guys will have packages and do certain things, and we’ve talked to them about that. So that’s how it’ll go on Sunday.”
Kingsbury said starting in his offense doesn’t matter much because of the various personnel groupings and packages he utilizes.
“We change personnel groups a ton,” Kingsbury said. “I think our guys understand we’re going to put our different personnel groups out based on certain plays and it has nothing to do with whether they’re a starter or not.”
Johnson didn’t play a snap in the fourth quarter of Arizona’s loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday after fumbling late in the third quarter. Johnson, speaking to the media Friday for the first time since last weekend’s game, said getting benched was “tough” but “sometimes you have off games.”
“Just a bad game, just a bad game,” Johnson said. “Not everyone’s perfect and the biggest thing is what you do after a bad game.”
That ended up being his best week of practice of the season.
“Felt great,” Johnson said. “Bouncing back, getting back to the groove of things, pay attention to detail and keep that energy high.”
Kingsbury said he was proud of Johnson’s effort and focus and likes “where his head’s at.”
“He’s responded well,” Kingsbury said.
Johnson was coming off a tough three-week stretch Sunday. He played just three snaps in Week 7 against the New York Giants and missed the next two games with an ankle injury.
Johnson, who has rushed for 302 yards and gained 323 yards receiving, said he’s good with his current role in the Cardinals’ offense.
“Wherever they need me, whatever opportunities, make the most of them,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he has been trying to do too much on his runs, something he noticed on film. He said he tries to “make too many reads instead of running.”
“Just trying to do as much as I can, read the hole too much instead of just playing football,” Johnson said.
The solution, he said, was to be “more decisive.”