Just five years ago, running back David Johnson was arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL. In 2016 he was an All-Pro, running for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with four receiving scores. But in 2017 Johnson suffered a season-ending ankle injury and hasn’t been the same since.
While we don’t know if Johnson will ever be his “2016 version” again achieved with the Arizona Cardinals, we do know that the Houston Texans' feature back is out to prove everyone that he can still be a top back in the league.
He'll be the Texans' No. 1 running back when training camp opens later this month, but he'll also have competition as Houston brought in veteran, former 1,000-yard rushers Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram this offseason.
“I’ve still got a lot left in the tank, and [can] be an impact player for the team,” Johnson said. “I feel like with those last three games I had last year, it gave me a lot of momentum going into this next season.”
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When it comes to preparing for this season, the former Pro Bowl runner is focused on his health. He said he wants to see himself in the training room and with the Texans training staff more often to help try to reduce injuries and create more production on the field.
“[I’m] not trying so much to train other places. [I’m] just trying to be more with the trainers there [with the Houston Texans] and make sure I do all my corrections,” Johnson said. “The fact that I’ve got a lot of lingering injuries that at this stage in my career that I’ve got to make sure that I am on top of."
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Everything was new to the former Cardinal after being traded to Houston. He’d been in Arizona for 5 years and then boom – gone. COVID-19 didn’t help, and he said his chemistry with his new teammates was at times uncomfortable.
“I think just trying to get more comfortable with my teammates, I think is the biggest thing,” Johnson said. “I think once we start calming down – me, myself especially, start focusing on what I can do and trying to improve my game as best as I can, I think it'll help out.”
While Johnson is looking forward to the start of Texans' training camp, he's also preparing to turn back the clock to his glorious past.