The Arizona Cardinals don’t know how long Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer will continue to play before hanging up their cleats — and with it possibly the Cards’ Super Bowl hopes. Faced with an uncertain future, winning now is imperative for the Cardinals, even for their younger players.
Speaking Thursday on The Blitz with Bruce Murray and Kirk Morrison on SiriusXM NFL Radio, running back David Johnson said his goal is to win a championship for Fitzgerald and Palmer.
“I don’t know as far as the team, but for me, I feel like definitely [it’s a goal to win for them],” Johnson said. “Because Carson, especially Carson and Larry, those two guys have taught me so much in these last two years that helped me so much with the playbook. Learning how to run a route effectively, it’s not all about speed, it’s also about technique and stuff. So I really want to do it for those guys. Especially since they’re such — not just great athletes, but great people off the field. So I feel like there’s a little pressure on me to do as much as I can to get that ring for those two.”
Palmer and Fitzgerald have reached the year-to-year portion of their NFL tenures — seasons 15 and 14, respectively. Palmer reiterated last month that he’ll decide his future after the season.
For his part, Johnson said he wants to make sure he does everything in his power to buoy the offense and give Arizona the best chance to get that ring. Johnson said he’s worked on his blitz pickups this offseason, which he admitted he struggled with at times in 2016.
After rushing for 1,239 yards and earning 879 receiving yards last year, the 25-year-old reiterated that his goal for 2017 is to blast past the 1,000 yards rushing / 1,000 yards receiving barrier.
“Oh I definitely have individual goals and that 1,000 and 1,000 is my top goal that I’m trying to set,” Johnson said. “Just because like you said, I was so close, unfortunately with the injury I felt like I definitely had the chance to get it. And also, another goal is just to have 16 straight with 100 yards from the line of scrimmage. And those two are my main goals. And then the biggest goal, like we were talking about, though, is the team goal. Trying to get that championship. Trying to get the ring, like B.A. [coach Bruce Arians] said. Not just getting to the championship, but winning the championship game.”
If Johnson powers the offense with a 1,000/1,000 split, Fitzgerald has a Fitzgerald-type season, and Palmer continues his stellar play from down the stretch of last year, the Cardinals will be a candidate to bounce back in a big way from a disappointing 2016.