Question #2 – Can David Johnson escape the shadow?
Suffice to say that David Johnson is a victim. Through no fault of his own, his career is now becoming remembered as the guy who the Houston Texans brought in one of the most controversial trades in recent history.
This is sad because when you look at his stats prior to his arrival and early in his career, he obviously had the makings of a great back. The Cardinals could see it when in just his second season, he had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. This included a 15-game stretch where he had over 100 yards from scrimmage, which tied the record set by the great Barry Sanders in 1997.
Unfortunately, in the final game of that season, he injured his knee with what was diagnosed as an MCL sprain that wouldn’t require surgery and that’s where problems started. One game in 2017 where on 11 rushes, he ran for 23 yards. The next two years would see Johnson play 29 games, but had 1285 yards combined rushing.
So here he is in a situation where so far, the Houston Texans have lost this trade and the season hasn’t even started. Johnson knows about the situation, but feels determined to prove his doubters wrong. A dual-threat back, Johnson can easily be another receiver for Watson if he can stay healthy and perform.
However, one thing the Houston Texans have a knack for doing is reviving careers. Last season, the Houston Texans turned Carlos Hyde from a running back averaging 3.6 yards per carry into a running back who averaged 4.4 YPC. Johnson averaged 3.6 and 3.7 YPC in his last two seasons, which was a trail off from the 4.2 he got in 2016. In addition to an offensive line slated to be an improvement, the Houston Texans could revive Johnson’s career and he would have a redemption story of his own.
While the answer will most likely be Johnson can’t and won’t be able to escape Hopkins’ shadow according to the public, he can easily make his own name and turn himself into a running back that most defenders might be wary of.