FLORHAM PARK N.J. - Being compared to Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is the ultimate stamp of approval, and Todd Bowles gave high praise to Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, who's quietly become the third leading rusher in the NFL.
"We've got to bring him down," Bowles said of Johnson. "They both can run the route tree him and Le'Veon...they're the same type of back."
Last week, Bell only had 66 rushing yards on 20 attempts. However, he did have nine receptions for 88 yards, something the Jets don't want to see from Johnson Monday night.
At six-foot-one 225 pounds, Johnson's versatility makes him a dynamic player. He can catch, run and even return kicks like the 108-yard kickoff return he took to the house as a rookie last season.
Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said that Johnson, "has the ability to line up in the slot, he has a route tree."
Johnson, a third-round selection out of Northern Iowa is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Last year, he became the first rookie in Cardinals history to score 13 touchdowns in a season. As a receiving threat, Johnson has great hands for a running back. He's averaging 47.6 receiving yards per game. The Jets are giving up only 2.97 rushing yards per carry this season but Johnson can hurt them most in the pass game. Linebacker Darron Lee is the fastest linebacker on the Jet defense, they will need him to run with Johnson out of the backfield and cover him on flat and wheel routes.
Last week, Johnson was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after lighting up the San Francisco 49ers. He ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the teams 33-21 victory. So far this year, Johnson is averaging five yards per carry and has 695 total yards from scrimmage -- the most yards in Cardinals franchise history through five games. Since Johnson became a starter in week 13 of last year, he leads the NFL in scrimmage yards per game at 129.8.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).