David Johnson

Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Photo: Icon Sportswire

David Johnson News

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


Logs seven touches in win

Johnson had six carries for 24 yards and caught his lone target for three yards in Sunday's 30-16 win over Jacksonville.

Analysis: Johnson returned to the field after missing one game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He played just 12 snaps, second amongst running backs behind Rex Burkhead's 38. The Texans don't have a hotshot prospect back to groom, so veterans like Johnson and Burkhead should play out the season. If Scottie Phillips (ankle) gets healthy enough, he could steal snaps and touches from either one.

Dec 20, 2021 3:42 AM EST


Could be joined by Burkhead

Johnson could have some unexpected competition in the backfield with Rex Burkhead (hip) listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Jaguars, Brooks Kubena of The Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Head coach David Culley apparently got ahead of himself earlier this week when he said Burkhead wouldn't play. The veteran back is now listed as questionable, potentially setting up a three-way committee between him, Johnson and Royce Freeman. There's also still a decent chance Burkhead sits out, in which case Johnson would retain his fantasy appeal for Week 15. It becomes far less appealing with Burkhead involved, even in the favorable matchup.

Dec 17, 2021 4:20 PM EST


Tabbed as lead back this week

Coach David Culley announced Wednesday that Johnson will be the Texans' primary running back this Sunday against the Jaguars, Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 AM reports.

Analysis: With Rex Burkhead (hip) ruled out and special teamer Scottie Phillips (ankle) still on injured reserve, the Texans are left with Johnson, Royce Freeman and practice-squad player Darius Jackson as backfield options for the Week 15 clash between AFC South afterthoughts. Johnson missed Week 13 with flu symptoms and a thigh injury and then missed Week 14 due to a brief stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he seems to be healthy as the Texans begin practice for Week 15.

Dec 15, 2021 10:30 AM EST


Cleared from COVID-19 list

The Texans activated Johnson from the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

Analysis: Though he didn't carry a designation into the past weekend after a one-game absence due to an illness and a thigh injury, Johnson was ruled out less than two hours prior to Sunday's eventual 33-13 loss to Seattle after he was placed on the list. Johnson's activation just one day later suggests that his placement on the list may have been the result of a false positive test, but in any case, he's on track to make his return to the lineup Week 15 in Jacksonville. Johnson could be in store for a larger share of the backfield work against the Jaguars than he enjoyed prior to his two-game absence, as his main competition for reps, Rex Burkhead, is uncertain to play this weekend after exiting early in the loss to Seattle.

Dec 13, 2021 1:48 PM EST


Placed on COVID list, out Sunday

Johnson has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Texans.

Analysis: With Johnson unavailable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks, the Texans' Week 14 backfield duties are slated to be handled by Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman.

Dec 12, 2021 8:38 AM EST


Returns to full practice

Johnson (illness/thigh) practiced fully Wednesday.

Analysis: Johnson was inactive for this past Sunday's 31-0 loss to the Colts after not practicing last week, but his full session Wednesday paves the way for him to rejoin the lineup this weekend against the Seahawks. In the running back's looming return to action, Johnson figures to re-enter a time-share with Rex Burkhead in Week 14, with Royce Freeman a candidate to mix in as well. In that context, Johnson -- who ran 23 times for 57 yards and caught five of his seven targets for 32 yards over his last two outings for the 2-10 Texans -- profiles as a speculative fantasy option in PPR formats.

Dec 8, 2021 5:26 PM EST


Inactive Sunday

Johnson (illness/thigh) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Analysis: With Johnson inactive, Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman and Jaylen Samuels (elevated from the practice squad Saturday) are available to handle the Texans' Week 13 backfield duties. In that context, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston suggests that Burkhead will work as the team's primary back Sunday, with Freeman - who started the season with Carolina -- poised to see his first touches on offense in a Houston uniform.

Dec 5, 2021 8:40 AM EST


Not expected to play

Johnson (illness/thigh) is unlikely to play Sunday against the Colts, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Johnson remains officially listed as questionable while battling both an illness and a thigh injury, but it looks like his outlook isn't good. Expect Rex Burkhead to see additional snaps if Johnson does indeed wind up being unable to suit up.

Dec 4, 2021 9:01 PM EST


Uncertain for Sunday

Johnson (illness/thigh) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Analysis: Though the questionable tag implies a player has a 50-50 shot at playing come game day, Johnson's inability to practice in any fashion Wednesday through Friday isn't a promising sign that he'll suit up. A final call on Johnson's status will come when the Texans unveil their inactive list 90 minutes prior to Sunday's 1 p.m. ET kickoff. In Houston's first game without both Mark Ingram (traded to New Orleans) and Phillip Lindsay (waived), Johnson (10 carries, three targets) and Rex Burkhead (12 carries, three targets) had a near-even split of the backfield touches in the team's Week 12 loss to the Jets, though Burkhead outsnapped Johnson by a 35-20 margin. If Johnson can't go Sunday, Burkhead would likely be in store for a larger share of the bye, though Royce Freeman could still be involved in the game plan as a secondary option out of the backfield.

Dec 3, 2021 1:12 PM EST


Not seen at practice

Johnson (illness/thigh) wasn't spotted at practice Friday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: The Texans' final Week 13 injury report which will be available later Friday should lend some clarity with regard to the running back's status. If Johnson is out or limited this weekend, Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman would be in line to see added backfield opportunities Sunday against the Colts.

Dec 3, 2021 11:01 AM EST


Absent from practice

Johnson (illness/thigh) isn't practicing Thursday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: Johnson is one of several Texans that will go down as a non-participant on Thursday's practice report due to an illness, though all reports to date have suggested that it isn't a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak. In any case, Johnson, who also picked up a thigh injury during Sunday's loss to the Jets, may need to get back on the practice field Friday as a limited participant to have a realistic shot at playing this weekend against the Colts. If cleared for that contest, Johnson would presumably be working in a backfield timeshare with Rex Burkhead.

Dec 2, 2021 11:06 AM EST


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