Houston Texans: David Johnson, Duke Johnson poised to lead run game

David Johnson (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
David Johnson (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

David Johnson joins Duke Johnson in the Houston Texans backfield for the 2020 season.

It’s going to be “The Johnson Show” in the Houston Texans backfield for the 2020 season. With David Johnson joining Duke Johnson, the Texans are going to have quite a different approach to the running game this season in comparison to last season when Carlos Hyde was the starting running back.

Of course, the trade of DeAndre Hopkins has come under fire, as many analysts and sports personalities believe that Houston lost big time on the trade. What’s done is done, and whether or not you value Hopkins more than David Johnson, the latter is the newest member of the Texans backfield, and it’s time to think about what he brings to the table vs. what’s leaving with Hopkins.

With Hyde reportedly entertaining the free agent market after declining a contract from the Houston Texans in late February, the veteran is most likely splitting ways with the franchise following one season, after posting his first 1,000 yard season in his six year NFL career.

Assuming the free agent Hyde doesn’t rejoin the Texans in 2020, it leaves the backfield wide open for “The Johnson Show.”

With Hyde and Duke Johnson manning the backfield in 2019, the pair accounted for 1,932 yards from scrimmage, and 11 touchdowns, which is pretty “middle of the pack production.” With the rest of the offense shaping up the way it has been, the Texans are hoping to improve and make another playoff run, as they have won the AFC South the past two seasons.

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David Johnson seems poised to take the starting running back role this upcoming season, while Duke Johnson is fit to be more of a complementary, change of pace, and pass-catching back. The Texans are likely hoping David Johnson returns to his 2016 Pro Bowl form where he accounted for over 1,200 yards on the ground and a staggering 16 touchdowns.

This level of production would be extremely valuable to the team — not seen since the days of Arian Foster — which has had a little trouble establishing their run game in the past few seasons. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson has never really seen a starting role, though he acts as a versatile option in the passing game with a career catch rate of over 76 percent.

On paper, the pairing of these two backs could actually prove quite productive for Houston if David Johnson can reestablish himself as a strong downhill runner, and Duke Johnson is able to elevate his play, and make more out of the touches he does see in the backfield.

The Houston Texans offense seems like it’s going to be drastically different heading into the ’20 season, with an emphasis on spreading the ball around, and utilizing more of their offensive weapons.

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Deshaun Watson doesn’t have DeAndre Hopkins to rely on anymore, and instead will have to make use of a variety of talent on the team, including the newest addition to Houston’s backfield, David Johnson.