David Johnson may not be able to be worth his contract, or what the Texans gave up in the trade that brought him there.
But for the part he can control, the veteran running back delivered Thursday night.
Johnson, whose contract the Texans took back in the deal that sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for a second-round pick, had a positive debut in last night’s loss to the Chiefs.
Johnson ran 11 times for 77 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 32 yards. His 19-yard touchdown was his longest scoring run since 2016.
“Just from the sideline without watching the tape, I thought he played well,” Texans coach and general manager Bill O’Brien said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He ran hard. He is a good player. He is a very good player, and he did a lot of things well, a lot of things we can build on.
“He ran the ball. He caught passes out of the backfield. I thought he did a lot of things well, so there is a lot to build on there.”
Johnson was once one of the top two-way threats in the league, leading the NFL with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in 2016. That helped him earn a three-year, $39 million deal from the Cardinals, though injuries derailed his career there. The Texans are hoping he can provide a boost to their offense, and based on the early returns, they’re encouraged.
“Hard runner, great vision, going to play to the final whistle,” Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “Finding a new rhythm of a new offense, getting his feet wet. He did a good job of making plays and running the ball.”
Again, the $10.2 million he’s making this year demands he continues that kind of production, but getting off to a good start will at least ease some of the pressure.