David Johnson

New Orleans Saints
Running Back #31
New Orleans Saints
Running Back #31

David Johnson News

28 receiving yards in finale

Johnson had zero carries and gathered in all both of his targets for 28 yards during Sunday's 10-7 loss versus the Panthers.

Analysis: Johnson recorded a season high in total yards as the Saints' offense posted yet another unremarkable outing. He also played just one more offensive snap than fellow backup running back Eno Benjamin (six). Over five games with New Orleans in 2022, Johnson recorded 12 carries for 24 yards and four receptions (on four targets) for 47 yards. These are by far the lowest marks of the 31-year-old's career outside of the 2017 season when suffered a season-ending wrist injury Week 1. Johnson first joined up with New Orleans via the practice squad in mid-November, and he was eventually signed to the active roster after No. 2 Mark Ingram sustained a season-ending MCL tear in early December. With both of these aging veterans set to hit free agency, it's unlikely that either of them will factor into the Saints' future at running back moving forward.

Jan 9, 2023 8:39 AM EST

Usage uptick in frigid win

Johnson posted seven rushes for 16 yards and caught his only target for eight yards during Saturday's 17-10 win versus Cleveland.

Analysis: Johnson's workload bumped up in the Saints' ground-and-pound offensive game plan versus Cleveland. He also caught a pass over the middle on third down to keep New Orleans' second drive of the game going. However, the No. 2 running back still finished third in rushing attempts, as versatile quarterback Taysom Hill (nine) and Alvin Kamara (20) led the team's option rushing attack over the final three quarters. With third-string running back Eno Benjamin exclusively filling in on special teams during the absence of Dwayne Washington (illness), fullback Adam Prentice was the only other New Orleans back to record any carries with two. Johnson should continue to see the bulk of the limited carries at running back behind Kamara in Week 17 versus Philadelphia.

Dec 25, 2022 8:47 AM EST

Coughs up fumble in win

Johnson tallied four carries for 12 yards a fumble during Sunday's 21-18 win over the Falcons.

Analysis: Johnson got off to a solid start in his first outing as the Saints' new No. 2 running back, logging four carries in the first quarter and a half. But, he gave up the team's lone turnover of the game when he fumbled in the red zone during the second quarter. While Johnson did not see a carry for the remainder of the contest, he was still the only running back to log any offensive snaps (18) other than starter Alvin Kamara (34), as Eno Benjamin (coach's decision) and Dwayne Washington (illness) were both ruled inactive pregame. Johnson's usage prior to this turnover is an encouraging sign for his role moving forward, though it's possible this mistake could cost him snaps when Benjamin and/or Washington are active moving forward.

Dec 19, 2022 6:56 AM EST

Serving as No. 2 back Sunday

Johnson is slated to serve as the top backup to starting running back Alvin Kamara in Sunday's game against the Falcons, John Hendrix of SI.com reports.

Analysis: With Eno Benjamin (coach's decision) and Dwayne Washington (illness) inactive for the contest and with Mark Ingram (knee) on injured reserve, the Saints won't have any true running backs available this week beyond Kamara and Johnson. Even though Johnson is seemingly well positioned to fill Ingram's change-of-pace role behind Kamara, that doesn't necessarily mean that Johnson will enter the backfield whenever Kamara leaves the field. The Saints will have a fullback (Adam Prentice) active for the game that they can turn to in pass protection, and jack-of-all-trades tight end/quarterback Taysom Hill is also likely to get a few carries behind Kamara.

Dec 18, 2022 8:56 AM EST

Signed to active roster

The Saints signed Johnson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Monday, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Johnson was elevated from the practice squad for Week 11 and rushed once for negative four yards and caught his only target for 11 yards across 10 offensive snaps. Mark Ingram is expected to miss at least a month after tearing his MCL during the Saints' Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay, so in his absence, Johnson figures to provide depth behind Alvin Kamara and Dwayne Washington.

Dec 12, 2022 1:57 PM EST

Moves back to practice squad

Johnson reverted to the Saints' practice squad Monday, per the NFL's transaction log.

Analysis: Johnson was elevated at the first possible opportunity after signing with New Orleans' practice squad Wednesday, hauling in his lone reception for 11 yards and rushing once for a four-yard loss Week 11. The veteran running back also played 10 of the team's 57 offensive snaps, slotting in behind Alvin Kamara (40) and ahead of special teamer Dwayne Washington (six). Johnson should stand to see similar usage if No. 2 running back Mark Ingram (knee) remains out Week 12 against San Francisco.

Nov 21, 2022 9:16 PM EST

Two touches in NOLA debut

Johnson notched one carry for negative four yards and gathered in their only target for 11 yards during Sunday's 27-20 victory against the Rams.

Analysis: Johnson saw a minimal role while playing 10 offensive snaps in his first game with the Saints. The 30-year-old served as the team's No. 2 running back with Mark Ingram (knee) sidelined for the third straight game, as Dwayne Washington once again primarily played on special teams. However, Johnson still played an extremely limited role behind Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill, who combined for 21 carries against the Rams. Expect Johnson to be elevated from the practice squad again if Ingram remains out Week 12 against the 49ers.

Nov 21, 2022 7:08 AM EST

Lands in Big Easy

Johnson was elevated to the Saints' active roster Saturday, John Hendrix of SI.com reports.

Analysis: Last fantasy managers saw Johnson, the veteran was toiling away in the 2021 Texans backfield averaging a miniscule 3.4 yards per carry across 67 totes. The 30-year-old didn't draw much interest throughout the offseason, but he has a chance to receive a few carries with typical backup Mark Ingram (knee) out for Sunday's game.

Nov 19, 2022 1:42 PM EST

Lands with Saints' practice squad

The Saints signed Johnson to their practice squad Wednesday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Johnson had previously met with the Saints in the offseason for an extended tryout, only to come away from the meeting without a contract. He's been on the open market ever since, but he'll finally end up in New Orleans following his most recent visit with the team. Though Johnson will initially be part of the practice squad, he could be a candidate to get elevated to the roster in advance of this Sunday's game against the Rams. The Saints are uncertain to have top backup Mark Ingram (knee) available as a depth option behind starter Alvin Kamara, and Johnson may represent a better alternative for the No. 2 role than Dwayne Washington, who is on the roster mainly for his contributions on special teams. Johnson spent the 2021 season in Houston, where he averaged a career-low 3.4 yards on 67 carries to go with 32 receptions for 225 yards over 13 games.

Nov 16, 2022 7:15 AM EST

Not signing with New Orleans

The Saints and Johnson were unable to come to contract terms, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports.

Analysis: Though it's possible that the veteran running back, who visited with the team, could catch on with New Orleans down the road, the 30-year-old remains an option for other squads looking for experienced backfield depth. In 13 games with the Texans last season, Johnson carried 67 times for 228 yards, while adding 32 catches on 42 targets for 225 yards and a touchdown.

Jun 17, 2022 2:55 PM EST

Visiting New Orleans

Johnson, who's a free agent, is visiting with the Saints on Monday, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports.

Analysis: Johnson has never replicated the success from his breakout campaign in 2016, but he's still capable of being a solid backup, which is exactly what the Saints are looking for. Mark Ingram has struggled to stay on the field over the past three seasons, so if New Orleans opts to sign Johnson, he'd give the Saints an emergency option behind superstar Alvin Kamara.

Jun 13, 2022 10:54 AM EST

Eight touches in season finale

Johnson had five carries for 28 yards and caught three of four targets for eight yards in Sunday's 28-25 loss to Tennessee.

Analysis: Johnson had missed four of the previous five games due to a quad injury and stints on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He played 17 snaps, well behind Rex Burkhead, who ascended as the team's top back over the second half of the season. When healthy, Johnson was the team's third-down back, and he finished with 32 catches on 42 targets for 225 yards and a touchdown. As a runner, he carried 67 times for 228 yards without a touchdown. He will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and it's uncertain, probably unlikely, that the Texans bring him back. The backfield needs a serious upgrade -- Houston finished 32nd in rushing in 2021 after ranking 31st the previous year. And that's just one issue facing the Texans, who need to make a decision on head coach David Culley and navigate the likely trade of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Johnson may represent unwanted memories of the previous regime under Bill O'Brien, so look for him to ply his trade for another team in 2022.

Jan 10, 2022 7:11 PM EST

Off COVID list

Johnson (quad) has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Analysis: Johnson was previously dealing with a quad issue, but he wasn't listed on Wednesday's practice estimate, so he's on track to be available for Sunday's season finale against the Titans. In that context, he'd presumably re-enter a backfield timeshare with Rex Burkhead in Week 18, with Royce Freeman also in the mix to log complementary touches.

Jan 5, 2022 2:13 PM EST

Remains on COVID list

Johnson (quad) remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday's game against the 49ers.

Analysis: Until Johnson, who had previously been dealing with a quad issue, clears the NFL's COVID protocols, Rex Burkhead is in line to continue to head the Texans' rushing attack, with Royce Freeman also in the mix to log complementary touches out of the team's backfield and Jaylen Samuels available in reserve.

Jan 1, 2022 4:50 PM EST

Added to COVID-19 list

The Texans placed Johnson (quadriceps) on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

Analysis: According to Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of the Texans' Week 14 loss to the Seahawks, but he was quickly cleared to return to the roster after his initial test result was deemed a false positive. Johnson appears to have a true positive test this time around, which could make it a challenge for him to gain clearance ahead of Sunday's game against the 49ers. Johnson had already sat out the Texans' Week 16 win over the Chargers due to the quad injury, allowing Rex Burkhead (22 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns, two catches for zero yards) to seize hold of a lead role out of the backfield. Burkhead's big game likely leaves him as the Texans' preferred option heading into Week 17, regardless if Johnson is ultimately cleared to play or not.

Dec 27, 2021 1:32 PM EST

Sidelined for Week 16

Johnson (quadriceps) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Chargers.

Analysis: Despite not practicing all week due to the quad issue, Johnson was listed as questionable heading into Sunday, though the Texans never had much optimism he would suit up. With Johnson out of the mix, Houston is left with Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman and Jaylen Samuels as its options out of the backfield. Burkhead is the leading candidate to pace the Houston backs in touches and snaps.

Dec 26, 2021 8:42 AM EST

Iffy for Week 16

Johnson (quad) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Chargers after not practicing this week, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Per Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston, despite the official 'questionable' designation, Johnson isn't expected to play in Sunday's 1:00 ET contest. If that's the case, Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman would be in line to head the Texans' Week 16 backfield.

Dec 24, 2021 2:32 PM EST

Misses another practice

Johnson (quad) remained sidelined at practice Thursday.

Analysis: Back-to-back listed absences Wednesday and Thursday set the stage for what Johnson is able to do Friday to be pivotal with regard to his chances of suiting up Sunday against the Chargers. If he's out or limited this weekend, added Week 16 opportunities would be available for Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman.

Dec 23, 2021 3:28 PM EST

Dealing with quad issue

Johnson was listed as a non-participant in Wednesday's walk-through practice due to a quad issue.

Analysis: Coach David Culley relayed earlier Wednesday that Johnson picked up an injury during the Texans' Week 15 win over the Jaguars, which helps explain why the running back only logged six carries in the contest, while Rex Burkhead paced the team with 16 rushing attempts. Johnson now has two more chances to get back on the practice field prior to Sunday's game against the Chargers.

Dec 22, 2021 2:41 PM EST

Missing practice Wednesday

Johnson, who suffered an unspecified injury during Sunday's win over the Jaguars, isn't slated to practice Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: With that, there's context that helps explain why Johnson logged just six carries in Week 15, while Rex Burkhead led the way with 16 rushing attempts. If Johnson ends up out or limited Sunday against the Chargers, added touches would be available for both Burkhead and Royce Freeman.

Dec 22, 2021 9:46 AM EST

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