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Cardinals turn to Johnson & Johnson backfield

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Chris Johnson signed midway through training camp when the Arizona Cardinals began fretting over their fragile running back depth chart.

Now Johnson and the Cardinals’ backups are front and center.

“I’m always preparing myself like I’m getting 20, 25 touches a game,” Johnson said. “I can’t sit there and not prepare like a starter even though I’m not the starter. I got to prepare the same way.”

Starter Andre Ellington likely will miss one to three weeks with a mild sprain of a knee ligament.

Johnson pulled a hamstring on his second day of camp. He’s healthy now, so he is likely to start against the Chicago Bears. Rookie David Johnson will be the backup, and Stepfan Taylor will be third.

“Chris will be the starter,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “Everybody just bumps up a spot. Both those guys (Johnson and Johnson) can pick up that slack easily.”

The Cardinals were relieved with the news on Ellington. They hope to use him more judiciously this year, because they felt he wore down a year ago. Ellington played with a partially torn foot tendon a year ago, then went on injured reserve in December with a core muscle injury.

He put his big-play ability on display against the Saints, rushing for 69 yards on 12 carries. He nearly broke a couple of those runs for bigger gains.

“I thought we left some plays on the field,” Arians said. “We missed some holes. We had a couple of blocks that if we finished a little bit better, we would have had even bigger runs. Andre was very explosive. Chris was decisive.”


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