David Johnson is going through a “rough stretch,” Steve Keim said Friday, and the running back ultimately has to get out of it on his own, the Cardinals GM added.
“The good news is that watching him in practice this week he’s been extremely energetic, he’s had a great week of practice and hopefully this weekend we will see him put his best foot forward,” said Keim during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Keim said he thinks Johnson loves the game and has worked hard off the field. He noted the performances Johnson had against the Bengals and Falcons, games in which Johnson shined, particularly as a receiver.
There has been a lack of consistency, and “there is no doubt that needs to improve,” Keim said. “That’s something only David can fix.”
Keim said the Cardinals are trying to support Johnson in any way they can. Keim said he has had conversations with the running back, and while the GM wasn’t getting detailed about those talks, he noted that sometimes Johnson can overthink the situation, and has worked on being more decisive as a runner. Keim also said he supported Kliff Kingsbury’s call to bench Johnson in the fourth quarter last week.
“We’re in this game to win,” Keim said. “It’s no different than a pitcher or a (basketball) player who is hot with his 3s. Let’s got to go with the hot hand. David makes a mistake, Kenyan (Drake) is running the ball well and catching the ball out of the backfield, you go with the hot hand.”
— Keim confirmed the NFL’s own announcement that the Cardinals would attend the workout of QB Colin Kaepernick Saturday in Atlanta. He was not specific on who would be the one attending from the organization, and noted that this workout was just like the many the Cardinals conduct all year.
“We do somewhere between 100 and 120 workouts a year for (unrestricted free agents) and probably somewhere in the range of 800 to 900 for college football players,” Keim said. “This is nothing new. It’s all part of the information-gathering process. That area has a lot of college football games going on so we will have a representative in that area who will attend.”
— Keim on the Myles Garrett situation Thursday night, when the Browns defensive end hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet. “It’s completely unacceptable and has no place in our game.” Garrett’s punishment will be something to watch, since the Browns visit the Cardinals in mid-December.
— Keim isn’t thrilled with the “huge problem” of the defense’s inability to get off the field on third downs. He continues to be encouraged with the upward trend of the offense. But “at the end of the day, none of it matters if you don’t win.”
— Evaluating inside linebacker Haason Reddick, “He is working hard and diligent how he approaches the game. … I know he is going to run out of time at some point. But he does a lot of good things, he has the skillset for the position, but he’s got to continue to improve with his eyes and what offenses are trying to do to him schematically.”
— There are benefits in playing so many young players right now. “They are going through growing pains,” Keim said. “But at the same time, as we transition into 2020, we will not only reap the benefits on the field, it gives me a better understanding where we need to go in free agency and the draft process. I’m excited about a lot of the young guys.”
— The Cardinals were disappointed in having to put rookie DE Zach Allen on IR, but his neck injury never got to where it needed to be to return. “Some of these injuries just don’t respond, and you determine another process may be needed to completely fix the injury,” Keim said, adding that the Cardinals “really have high expectations for him going forward.”