Fantasy Football: Arizona Cardinals RB Kerwynn Williams to start in place of David Johnson

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:54 PM
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Things could change from week to week and even day by day, but for the time being, Kerwynn Williams will get the first crack at replacing the injured David Johnson as the Arizona Cardinals' featured running back.

Asked how much Johnson's absence for the next two to three months because of a wrist injury will change the Cardinals' offense, head coach Bruce Arians said it won't change things a bit.

"Not one iota," he said on Wednesday.

That's not quite how Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer sees it, however. Here's what he had to say when asked the very same question:

"It changes drastically. You lose who I think is one of the best football players in this league, things are obviously going to change."

Williams is a nice player, but he's no David Johnson, who led the NFL in touchdowns and yards from scrimmage in 2016.

When healthy, Johnson can do things that not many running backs can do such as line up as a wide receiver, run precise routes and also tuck the ball under his arm and run over linebackers and safeties.

"There's a whole lot of catches for somebody else," Palmer said. "He had 2,000 yards of offense, so somebody's got to step up. We're not going to run every single exact play Dave ran, running routes, because that was something very specific to Dave that he did really, really well. Things change when you lose a guy who produced 2,000 yards in one season."

Williams, a seventh-round draft pick by the Colts in 2013, will be making his first career NFL start. He's had one 100-yard rushing game, which came for the Cardinals against the Chiefs in 2014.

"It's definitely exciting," Williams said. "It's definitely an opportunity I haven't had before and I'm definitely excited for the opportunity."

Andre Ellington will spell Williams when he needs a break and also be brought in on most third downs that are obvious passing situations, according to Arians.

Chris Johnson, who was re-signed after being released during the Cardinals' roster cuts to 53, will also get some carries on Sunday, Arians said. At some point, it might not be a surprise if he eventually assumes the No.1 starting role.

Arians might want to give Johnson a healthy dose of carries this week considering how upset the veteran running back was about being cut in the first place.

"Of course, I didn't like it," Johnson said. "I can just control what I can control and just go out there and do whatever I can to help the team win. ... I knew some opportunity would come sooner or later."

Johnson said he wasn't and isn't bitter toward the Cardinals, but that, "I just had bitterness about being cut, period. The type of player I am and being that it was unexpected and never thinking that would happen, of course there was bitterness. But I couldn't dwell on it; I just had to make sure I stayed in shape and get ready for whatever opportunity I had coming toward me."

--Wide receiver John Brown (leg) did not practice on Wednesday and head coach Bruce Arians offered no details about what exactly is troubling the Cardinals' speedy wideout. Brown was slowed by a quad injury during training camp, but showed no signs of being hurt in last Sunday's season opener at Detroit.

--Also not practicing on Wednesday were left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee), inside linebacker Karlos Dansby (shin), tight end Jermaine Gresham (ribs) and left guard Mike Iupati (triceps). Listed as limited were inside linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (calf).

--Quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald each were full participants in practice on Wednesday even though both veterans usually get the day off every week. Before head coach Bruce Arians could be asked if that was because of how bad the Cardinals performed in their season-opening loss to the Lions, he pumped the breaks on any speculation.

"If you're wondering why Larry and Carson practiced, I set the damn schedule two months ago," Arians said. "I'm not answering questions about why they practiced. The schedule's been set for two months, so put that to bed."

--Running back D.J. Foster, signed off the Patriots' practice squad, might get a chance to play some special teams against the Colts but it's more likely that he learns more of the playbook before the former Arizona State standout sees any action or any type of reps on offense, especially.

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