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Cardinals' David Johnson: Getting 200 receiving yards 'tall order'

TEMPE, Ariz. – David Johnson has two games left to get the 200 receiving yards he needs to become the third running back in NFL history with 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing yards in one season.

Is it possible? Yes.

Will it be easy? No.

“It is a tall order, but I’m never going to give up on that,” he said. “I’m going to definitely try to get that.”

Johnson enters the Arizona Cardinals' game Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks with exactly 800 receiving yards, which leads all running backs. If he sticks to his average of 57.1 receiving yards per game, Johnson would come up 86 yards short.

He’ll need some help by way of a big play -- or a few.

“Any time he touches the ball he can break a tackle and go to the house,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think that’s out of the realm of imagination for him. He’s that kind of player. He’s capable of doing it any time he touches the ball. He’s going to get his touches. What he does with it after the catch is up to us blocking for him.”

Fitzgerald isn't the only one who thinks about Johnson's big-play ability. Coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin referenced it, too.

Johnson, with 73 receptions overall, has 12 catches for 20 yards or more this season and only two were thrown more than 8 yards. Two were thrown to Johnson behind the line of scrimmage and five were thrown less than 5 yards. Johnson did the rest. He scored on two of them.

“It doesn’t have to go down the field very far,” Arians said.

While Johnson ultimately is the one making the plays, Arians will have just as much of a role in Johnson's potentially getting 200 yards in two games because he’s the playcaller. It will all depend on what kind of “groove” Arians gets in calling the plays, Goodwin said.

Johnson has run 477 routes this season -- that’s more than Washington’s Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs and Miami’s Jarvis Landry, to name a few. He’s the only running back among the top 84 route runners.

If Johnson gets close in Week 17 at Los Angeles, Arians said he’ll feed the second-year running back -- if the Rams let him.

“You don’t throw it into double coverage, because I’m sure there are going to be two of them around him,” Arians said.

But first, Johnson needs to get enough yards between the start of Saturday’s game at Seattle and the end of the third quarter in Los Angeles to be in a position for Arians to feed him.

Arians, for one, doesn’t think Johnson will get the 200.

“I’ll be surprised if he gets it -- 100 yards as a back receiving is very hard to do, two weeks in a row against two really quality defenses,” Arians said. “Two [of the] best in the league.”

The receiver in Johnson, however, “definitely” feels that 200 yards in two games is attainable.

One of Johnson’s goals this season was 1,000 yards rushing. He surpassed that plateau in Week 13 and sits at 1,138 yards. Once 1,000 receiving yards was a possibility, Johnson made it a new goal. If he can reach 1,000, he’d join Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only running backs in history to do the double.

The historic value of the accomplishment has fueled Johnson's desire to join the 1,000/1,000 club.

“You don’t really think about a running back doing that,” he said. “Only two running backs have done that in the NFL. It’s a huge testament to my ability not to just run the ball but also catch the ball out of the backfield.”