Coach Bruce Arians doesn't like the word "need", but the Cardinals were lacking a big, physical back. David Johnson will contend for the starting job, and at least should be a nice complement to Andre Ellington. Johnson is big and he ran the 40-yard dash at the combine in 4.5 seconds, which is plenty fast for a man his size.
The Cardinals have been trying to add a bigger back to complement Ellington, and Johnson fits the bill. It’s starting to look like a committee in Arizona, so keep an eye on this camp battle to see if Johnson’s able to unseat Ellington. For now, Ellington should be able to hold onto the job with Johnson serving in a change-of-pace role.
The Houston Texans have made a bevy of moves in the backfield.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that the team released running back Andre Brown, per a source informed of the move. Houston also cut runners Dennis Johnson and Tim Cornett, per John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.
The moves clear a path for new talent after the Texans worked out journeymen Brian Leonard, Ronnie Brown and William Powell earlier on Monday, per McClain.
Until they add bodies, the team's less-than-titanic depth chart features Arian Foster ahead of Jonathan Grimes and rookie Alfred Blue.
It's not really a surprise. Brown was buried on the team's depth chart and didn't play in the team's opening game - a blowout loss to the Cardinals. He was poised to be a valuable addition as a strong backup to often-injured Foster after two pretty good years with the Giants.
Pro Football Talk
Aug 11, 2014 · 5:28 PM EDT
The Texans turned to a group of young backs Saturday night, but looked at some old ones Monday.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans worked out three running backs Monday: Ronnie Brown, Brian Leonard and William Powell.
The Chargers let Brown walk as a free agent this offseason, and the 32-year-old also worked for the Patriots earlier this offseason.
The 30-year-old Leonard was solid last year for the Buccaneers, and has shown to be a veratile run-pass player. Powell has spent time with the Cardinals and Eagles.
The Texans have been without Arian Foster (hamstring), and they didn’t give free agent acquisition Andre Brown much work in the preseason opener, going with Jonathan Grimes, Alfred Blue and Dennis Johnson.
When the Texans signed running back Andre Brown as a free agent, it seemed they were going to have him take over for Ben Tate as the primary backup to Arian Foster during the 2014 season.
Things haven’t played out that way, though. Brown dressed for Saturday night’s game against the Cardinals, but didn’t see a snap even though Arian Foster was held out of the game. Coach Bill O’Brien said the team planned to play Brown after Jonathan Grimes, Alfred Blue and Dennis Johnson, but never got the chance because they only managed to run 48 offensive plays.
On Monday, O’Brien went a little further. He said, via Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle, that Brown is battling but in a “tough spot” on the Texans’ roster. Smith’s colleague John McClain reports Brown said “all the right things” in response to questions about his status.
Grimes started ahead of Blue on Saturday and O’Brien indicated that the depth chart is shaping up that way for now. There’s hope that Foster will be back at practice this week and getting him up to speed may not leave Brown with many chances to climb his way back up the pecking order, the story said. With Foster already banged up and missing much of camp, his fantasy handcuff will be a popular pickup, but so far it appears that's not going to be Brown.