In life, the feeling of being wanted can not be overstated. Whether it's a company wanting you to join their company. A woman wanting to date you. Or remember that feeling as a kid, when someone asks you to hang out or when you were picked first to play ball ...
The Feeling Of Being Wanted-David Johnson
Professional athletes experience that same feeling when a team actively pursues them, whether through a trade or signs them as a free agent. Being wanted can be a powerful motivator.
David Johnson met with the media on Friday, and current season ticket holders on Saturday. My biggest takeaway from those conversations was how appreciative David Johnson is for Bill O'Brien, "wanting him." As humans, we get a boost of serotonin when we are wanted. Given the number of times David mentions "being wanted by BOB," the wheels in my mind started to spin.
Unfortunately, in any article regarding David Johnson, you have to discuss the trade. I am not sure if the quarantine has played a part in the amount of ridicule the Texans organization has received since the trade happened 5 weeks ago? Or, if all the condemnation is genuinely warranted? Even now, any new article about the Deandre Hopkins trade will be headlined similarily to "Deandre Hopkins Trade Was A Joke!", or "Does Anybody Know What They Are Doing In The Texans Organization?". Most of this criticism stems from the fact that Stephon Diggs, a player that is a tier below Hopkins, was traded for multiple picks including a 1st only 48 hours later.
On top of the lack in draft capital received, the centerpiece of the deal is a 28-year-old "injury-prone" RB with a $10 million cap hit. What if I told you that the term injury prone is thrown around far too often in the NFL? David Johnson has had one major injury; in fact, David Johnson has played in 62 out of the 80 games since entering the league. When I think of injury-prone, I think of players that are consistently listed as questionable or miss multiple games throughout the season, like Melvin Gordon and Leonard Fournette. Not a running back who had a wrist injury that cost him an entire season, but then he only missed 3 games over the next 3 seasons.
When looking at the accomplishments of David Johnson, it seems you should only look at one year of his production, at least according to the "professional journalist" and that would be 2016. In 2016 David Johnson rushed for 1239 yards & 12 TD's, with 879 receiving yards and 4 TD's, which is considered by most, one of the best single-season performances by a running back. In 2017 David injured his wrist and missed the entire 2017 season; he had high expectations coming back from this injury in 2018. Many experts "say" that he didn't look like the same running back. These "experts" disregarded that the offensive line for the 2018 Arizona Cardinals who finished with 52 sacks given up, and 109 QB hits and was ranked as the worst offensive line in the NFL by PFF. Texans fans definitely understand what a terrible offensive line looks like; in 2018, Deshaun Watson was sacked 54 times. Now back to David Johnson, who hasn't had a productive season since 2016…… In 2018 with the league's worst offensive line, David Johnson rushed for 940 yards, 7 TD's, 446 receiving yards, and 3 TD's. Is that over 2000 yards from scrimmage like back in 2016? Nope, but I don't understand how it couldn't be considered a productive season in the context that it happened.
In 2019 the Arizona Cardinals moved on from HC Steve Wilks and replaced him with Kliff Kingsbury. Commonly in the NFL, when a new HC takes over a franchise, they want players that fit their scheme on both sides of the ball. 4 weeks into the 2019 NFL season, Kingsbury traded for Miami Dolphins running back Kenyon Drake, many viewed this move as puzzling because the Cardinals had David Johnson. Kenyon Drake took over as the bell cow back in Arizona. However, Kingsbury continued to use David Johnson in the receiving game. David Johnson finished the season with 94 rushing yards & 2 TD's, 370 receiving yards & 4 TD's averaging 10.3 YPCatch.
David Johnson has been mislabeled as an injury-prone RB. He has multiple productive seasons in the NFL. David Johnson was simply the victim of a terrible offensive line, with play calling that didn't match his skill set and a new front office that has their own vision of the offense they want. The Houston Texans have lacked a franchise-type RB since the departure of Arian Foster in 2016. Now I am not saying that David is going to come to Houston and light the league on fire as he did in 2016. I am merely theorizing that the Texans may be getting a back that can produce better than he did in 2018. In 2019 the Texans offensive line improved with the addition of LT Laremy Tunsil, rookie Guard Max Scharping, a much-improved center in Nick Martin, an average guard in Zach Fulton, and rookie right tackle Tytus Howard. Additionally, the offensive line will show additional growth as it will be the first time in consecutive seasons the Texans will have the same 5 offensive linemen returning. David will be running behind what should be the best offensive line he has had since 2016.
Now let's look at the scheme fit for David Johnson. Most assume the Texans will be running the same zone scheme from the previous two years. If that is the case, then the Texan's front office is similarly handicapping David Johnson in the same manner that the Arizona Coaching Staff did. If the Texans revert to the power scheme that BoB previously seemed to favor, then the Texans will be setting David Johnson up for success.
There appears to be a plan to implement a new offensive scheme this offseason in Houston. The departure of Deandre Hopkins and the additions of Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, and David Johnson, with a new OC Tim Kelly taking over play-calling duties. Every article you have read regarding what this offense will look like based upon BoB's playcalling should be thrown away. There isn't one person outside of the Texans organization that has any idea what this offense will look like. It is easier to just assume they will be terrible.
I prefer to look at what the Texan's front office has done this offseason building a new offense. This offense has the potential to both be very good and very exciting to watch. Imagine what opposing defenses will have to do with both David Johnson & Duke Johnson lined up in the backfield, Cooks and Fuller lined up outside, with Randall Cobb in the slot, and either Darren Fells or Jordan Akins at TE. Try to take away the deep ball, and your expecting your ILB's to stay with Duke, David, and the TE. From a matchup perspective, this team has weapons everywhere on the offense. The biggest question about this offense is, will it work? Will they stay healthy? And that is yet to be seen. Still, I will always be optimistic over pessimistic.
The title of this article is "The Feeling Of Being Wanted", maybe David Johnson has mentioned this feeling multiple times because he didn't feel wanted the last two seasons and feels this is the team for him and is excited about being able to turn around the naysayers and show he should still be considered a top running back in the NFL?
It is easy to assume every move Bill O'Brien has made is awful, but can you name a personnel move that has been made that hasn't worked out? No, you can not.
Each and every personnel move made last season helped improve the team. There is a legitimate argument to be had about the value of each trade and could have BoB received mored in exchange. But when you look at the moves in totality, tell me how the team is not in a better situation than before……. It wasn’t but 10 months ago all Texans fans were praising Bill O’Brien for being aggressive and getting “his” players, but one move seems to have washed all of that away.
We won't know if the moves this offseason will work until the Texans take the field, so maybe Bill O'Brien is right. We should wait and see how this unfolds. It is only April. Isn't it a little early to expect this team to fail?