Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 4:14pm
The Titans won’t be keeping Chris Johnson beyond 2012, not with a $10 million salary due next year, $9 million of which becomes fully guaranteed the week after the next Super Bowl. And it’s not as if the Titans will be turning things around; as Johnson recently said himself, they’re simply not a good team.
Monday, October 1, 2012, 9:10am
The running back rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries, providing one of the few positives for the Titans in a 38-14 defeat.
“Yeah, it was a pretty good game, running the ball or whatever,” Johnson said. “I feel like my offensive line went out there and did a great job from the first snap. Just getting up on guys, pushing those guys back, recreating the line of scrimmage and just giving me somewhere to run. Like I’ve been saying all year, I’m going to be as good as my offensive line.”
Through the first three games, Johnson had 45 yards on 33 carries, an average of 1.4 per attempt. He averaged 5.6 yards per attempt against the Texans and had his longest gain of the season with a 19-yard burst.
It was his first 100-yard game since last December, when he gained 153 yards against the Bills.
Hopefully this wasn't the week you had enough and put Johnson on your bench, and hopefully last week wasn't the week you traded him for a couple of beers and a bag of chips at your next draft. Johnson broke out against a very good defense and hopefully it's a sign of more consistent fantasy production in the coming weeks. The Titans are at the Vikings next week.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 1:07pm
After missing all of training camp last season because of a contract holdout, Titans RB Chris Johnson worked with teammates and coaches this summer. He was in better shape, and more comfortable in Year 2 under offensive coordinator Chris Palmer. A year ago, Johnson just arrived with the team barely a week before the season.
When the Titans opened up the season on Sunday against the Patriots, however, the Titans looked even worse than last year in the running game. Johnson managed a measly four yards on 11 carries, and on most attempts he was hit in the backfield.
Johnson deserves some of the blame. He was often too hesitant in the team’s 34-13 loss, and he didn’t attack the hole with a vengeance. But Johnson’s line didn’t get the job done, either. They were beaten off the football and looked out of sync.
The Patriots appear to have a very good front seven, so Johnson owners shouldn't panic and trade him away for peanuts after Week 1.
Monday, September 10, 2012, 8:36am
Neither Titan RB Chris Johnson nor the offensive line gave any indication things had changed in Sunday’s season opener, as the Titans mustered just 20 yards on 16 carries in a 34-13 loss to the Patriots at LP Field.
Johnson suffered through the worst game of his career, carrying 11 times for only 4 yards.
There were a few tiny sparks of life for the run game very early in the contest, as Johnson had carries of 5 and 4 yards on the Titans’ first drive, which ended with a field goal.
But he still at times looked tentative to hit the hole hard, seemingly trying to finesse his way to bigger gains instead of taking what was available. Whether that was because of poor decision-making or a lack of running room is up for debate.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 11:43am
Running backs coach Jim Skipper is among those who noticed a big difference in Chris Johnson during this year’s training camp. It followed the first offseason he participated in the team’s conditioning program instead of working out on his own at home in Florida.
“Looking at him with the naked eye, it’s night and day compared to last year. Cuts, conditioning, his confidence — it’s all there,” Skipper said. “Having a training camp, it helps because it builds your endurance, gets you in football shape. And from that standpoint, it’s night and day. …
“Chris is working hard. His attitude has been excellent. He is busting his tail. And hard work equals good results.”
Despite the bad year, Chris Johnson finished RB9 in PPR last season. He was RB16 in standard formats. one thing that was very noticeable last year was that the offensive line wasn't creating the type of holes that we're accustomed to. Johnson has only run for 81 yards on 28 carries for a 2.9 YPC during the preseason, so he's not out of the woods just yet.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson had the toughest season of his four-year career in 2011 (1,047 yards), averaging 65.4 yards per game. During the preseason, Johnson has not been any more productive, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
However, Titans coach Mike Munchak remains confident Johnson will have a bounce-back year. Johnson is also a reliable pass catcher, and the Titans may look to utilize him more in that role, getting him in space where he has room to leverage his speed.
"C.J.’s had a great camp," Munchak said on NFL Network’s NFL AM show. "About being here, having a great sense of what we’re doing, running with confidence, he’s doing exactly what we want him to do. Now it’s just a matter of us getting into the regular season and hopefully putting last season behind us.
"C.J. is a guy who can make plays in a lot of ways. We cannot forget that he can make a lot of plays catching the ball because of that speed, he can make plays at any time. So he’s going to be a big part (of our offense), he knows that, he’s excited about it."
This is a good news/bad news situation. It doesn't sound like the offense of line is playing any better than last year, but the Titans sound determined to get Johnson the ball one way or another. He was RB9 in PPR formats despite the bad year.
Friday, August 24, 2012, 11:01am
So when he arrived at Halas Hall for a free-agent visit, Bush was fascinated when new offensive coordinator Mike Tice informed him that he wanted two 1,000-yard running backs.
Don't read too much into this -- it was probably just Tice doing his best car salesman job trying to convince Bush to sign on the dotted line. It is something to keep in mind, however, when comparing Forte to players with more predictable workloads, like Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 10:06am
The Titans installed more Run ’N Shoot offensive concepts this offseason, and although the competition for the starting QB job is open between Matt Hasselbeck and second-year pro Jake Locker, the Titans have big plans for Chris Johnson, who has benefitted from a full offseason in the system.
Titans coach Mike Munchak stayed with the Titans’ offense and the Falcons’ defense during the practice that used the football stadium and a baseball outfield that had half a football field painted in it.
“I thought CJ looked quick,” Munchak said. “I thought he did things very decisively. When he started to go outside, he did hard and full speed on the edge. When he decided to go downhill, he decided to go downhill. I thought our backs ran well. Sometimes there were holes, sometimes there weren’t, but overall, I thought that part looked nice, and I thought some guys made some big-time catches.”
Tennessee’s offseason talk has been about an explosive offense. Whether it’s Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker at quarterback, he’ll be throwing to Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and, of course, Chris Johnson.
Johnson’s overall determination was in question last year, when he got a big contract extension prompted by a holdout, but then got suspect blocking and fell into bad habits. Eddie George recently said on Nashville radio that he saw Johnson stop moving his feet at initial contact and never really get back to it.
Though he did have a career-best 57 receptions, he said it wasn’t necessarily indicative of his role in the pass game.
“I think I was a little bit more involved in the pass offense with Dinger,” he said. “But with the situation that we’ve got here, since I got here we got a lot of playmakers on this offense. So it feels good to see a couple receivers out there putting up good numbers. I feel like it’s a different situation, if there’s a lot of us contributing, a lot of us making plays, I feel like it’s not a bad thing that I probably don’t get as many catches as I usually do.”
Johnson will still get catches, but owners should expect a drop off from his career high 57 last year. The hope would be that the Titans vertical passing threat will open more holes up for Johnson on the ground. We currently rank Johnson as our #5 RB. He's certainly safer than MJD and McFadden from a health and holdout perspective, but the fact that Johnson played all of last season at a sub-par level has us concerned in the first round.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 11:58am
He gained eight pounds of muscle to make him sturdier in the trenches, and he spent the offseason working with his coaches and teammates at Baptist Sports Park in the offseason program.
We have Johnson rated 6th among our RBs. It's natural to want to shy away from CJ2K after last season's frustrations, especially if you were an owner. But, with an ADP of the late first round (eighth pick in both standard and PPR), you almost have to be tempted to take a shot at that point in the draft. He seems to be dedicated to bouncing back this year, and with Tennessee's improved weapons in the passing attack, it should open some things up for him.
Last season, Tennessee Titans fans did not see the same running back in Chris Johnson they saw in seasons before. Now everyone seems to think his secret to success in 2012 will come from getting bigger.
However, perhaps it is not just Johnson's weight or even his spending more time with the team during offseason training activities and workouts that will ensure a return to form. Johnson's performance will likely benefit from the added gym time, but his mental preparation and readiness for the season will also factor into what he does on the field once the season begins.
"I was confident last year, it's just that it didn't work out right," Johnson recently told reporters. "I wasn't in shape, the blocking wasn't the same and it was just a lot of different things that factors into it or whatever. But this year I feel more confident physically and being able to work with my offensive line."
This is the concern when drafting players that are holding out and are missing training camp. They may be staying in good physical condition, but they aren't necessarily in "football shape." This is something to consider when drafting players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Forte, Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe.
Saturday, June 23, 2012, 1:01pm
Titans RB Chris Johnson compared himself to LeBron James: “I feel just like LeBron — a lot of people are going to be back on the bandwagon,” Johnson said. “He had a lot of haters out there, a lot of people saying he wasn’t good and things like that and just to see how he overcame that and came back this year and won the championship, it shows his hard work and dedication.”
Johnson just barely topped 1,000 yards last season, but this season he says he wants to top 2,000 yards, as he did in 2009.
“I feel like a lot of people have written me off,” Johnson said. “I still went over 1,000 yards but it wasn’t a CJ2K year. So a lot of people are going to write me off. . . . I want to be the first one to do it twice, that’s certainly a goal of mine to do. . . . I feel like I’m still the best back in the league. When I ran for 2,000 yards my goal was to be the best player in the league and I still want to be that. In order for my team to make it to the playoffs, make it to the Super Bowl, I’m going to have to be the best.”
Johnson finished the 2011 season as the #16 RB and he is currently sitting at #8 in our standard scoring rankings.
In Chris Johnson’s perfect world, the football finds its way into his hands 25 times a game — 20 carries and five pass receptions.
“To say you’re going to get a guy 25 touches a game is pushing it,” Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. “That’s 400 touches over the course of a season. He’s certainly capable of that, but what does it mean for the team? Does it help us win?”
Johnson remains a key element, but Palmer is more inclined to spread the field with receivers and throw the ball.
“We can’t allow people to come up and jam the box and make it difficult to run,” Palmer said. “In an ideal situation, you’d like to be 45 percent pass, 55 percent run. But depending on whom we’re playing, it may switch to 60 percent pass, 40 percent run. Or it can be a higher percentage of passing depending on the score.”
Better offensive balance should mean more room for Johnson to run. We're expecting a mild bounce-back season, but his performance in 2011 is still a big concern.
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 1:02pm
People who know Titans RB Chris Johnson are expecting him to have a big bounce-back season because he has rededicated himself. Johnson has worked out hard this offseason and spent a lot of time around the Titans facility. Last offseason, between his contract situation and the lockout, Johnson took it easy. He wasn’t in top shape when he reported, and it showed in how he played.
Thursday, June 7, 2012, 3:41pm
Chris Johnson is on a mission. The Tennessee running back insists he's still the best in the NFL, and he's working hard this offseason to make sure he bounces back after the worst season of his career.
Johnson has packed on 8 to 9 pounds of muscle as part of his strong commitment to the Titans' offseason program.
Coach Mike Munchak couldn't pinpoint Johnson's struggles when reviewing film at season's end. Johnson had trouble getting to the outside on stretch plays, his signature run through his first three seasons, and didn't locate the hole quickly enough on cut backs.
"Sometimes he cut back too soon, it was blocked well and then the next time he'd go well 'I'm going to stretch the darn thing' and all of a sudden he should have cut back," Munchak said.