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.
Friday, May 25, 2012, 12:35pm
In previous years, Johnson worked out on his own with a personal trainer in Florida. Coming off the least productive season of his four-year career – and after a clause was added to his contract extension last summer that requires him to be in town for the majority of the workouts – Johnson’s opted to work with his teammates in town.
“C.J. has worked very hard,’’ Palmer said. “He is here, running hard and working hard. I’m very optimistic about how he’s going to perform this (fall).”
We’ve heard several times this offseason that Ravens running back Ray Rice wants to be paid like one of the NFL’s elite running backs, and that the player and the team are far apart in contract talks.
But Sal Paolantonio of ESPN might have had the report that put the distance between the Ravens and Rice into the starkest terms yet: Paolantonio said that when talking to a senior Ravens official about reports that Rice wants Adrian Peterson money or at least Chris Johnson money, that senior team official said, “That is simply not going to happen.”
Peterson signed a seven-year, $100 million deal with $36 million guaranteed, while Johnson signed a six-year, $56 million contract with $30 million guaranteed. Rice can’t expect to get that.
This sounds bad -- and it may very well be bad -- but Rice has to recognize that the Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson contracts have not worked out for the Vikings and Titans, respectively. Hopefully he will lower his asking price to a point that's palatable to the Ravens, and soon. A protracted, CJ1K-style hold out would make him a riskier pick on draft day. Johnson never looked like himself in 2011 and Rice would be running the same risk.
Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, Isaiah Pead was considered a late riser and hot sleeper among the running back prospects. Now that he has joined the St. Louis Rams as a second-round pick, No. 50 overall, Pead is being tabbed for a featured role in the near future.
The Rams are looking at Pead as more than just a complement to 6-2, 240-pound Steven Jackson, ESPN reports. Given Jackson turns 29 in July and carried a big load over his eight seasons and two-time All-Pro career, Rams officials were expected to bring fresh legs.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher has been versatile in his philosophy about what kind of back can thrive in getting 20-25 touches for his offense. With the Tennessee Titans, Fisher got to Super Bowl XXXIV against the Rams with 6-3, 240-pound Eddie George. Then Fisher got a 2,006-yard rushing season from 5-11, 191-pound speedster Chris Johnson in 2009.
This is certainly interesting from a dynasty standpoint, but it's too soon to write Jackson off. While he does have a lot of wear on his tires, his YPC in 2011 (4.4) was slightly above his career average and he certainly still looks the part of an every-down back. The team will likely work Pead into the mix, but Jackson is a decent bet to repeat the 302 touches he had last season, especially if the Rams' offense improves as expected.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 6:54pm
Chris Johnson’s annual absence from the Titans’ offseason program has been a storyline ever since he entered the league, but it won’t be an issue this year.
As part of the $53.5 million extension he signed last September, Johnson is required to participate in the majority of the team’s offseason workouts or he will be docked $250,000. The contract allows him six absences.
It wasn't quite as overwrought as LeBron James' decision on which team to abandon Cleveland for, but Jeff Fisher has finally chosen a coaching destination. He will take his talents to the St. Louis Rams.
Last week, Fisher interviewed with both the Rams and the Miami Dolphins, visiting both teams' facilities. Rumors of where he would land started to leak on Monday, but there was no definitive news until ESPN reported today that he is headed to St. Louis.
Friday, January 13, 2012, 12:36pm
If he’s on the team’s roster on the fifth day of the league year, Johnson gets his base salary of $8 million. If the Titans cut ties with him, Bud Adams doesn’t have to write that check.
Coach Mike Munchak is on record as saying he expects Johnson to be on the roster, although he acknowledges the final personnel call lies with GM Mike Reinfeldt and, ultimately, the owner.
“I would assume that he is going to be on our roster, yes,” Munchak said.
And in a moment of candor that is rare for those in his chosen profession, Munchak verbalized what most of us have been saying for the last several months: Johnson is no longer the 4.24-second blur he was at the ’08 combine.
“Is he a step slower? Yeah, I’m sure he is,” Munchak said when asked if Joshson had lost some of his speed. “I don’t know how you would measure that exactly, but I’m sure he has.”
Is Johnson running on empty? I honestly don’t think so. While he has lost a touch of speed, his failure to break long runs appeared to be rooted in a lack of confidence.
In the past, Johnson would find an opening and accelerate through traffic. This season, he seemed unsure that he could get to and through the hole. And let’s not pretend that the blocking was there. Pass protection was excellent. Run blocking? Not so good.
Friday, December 30, 2011, 8:09pm
Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 7:52pm
In the four-year extension he signed in April there was a clause that stated his 2012 salary would decrease from $8 million to $7.7 million if he failed to reach 1,000 yards in 2011.
He needs 14 yards on Sunday to reach 1,000 for the season and keep the $300,000.
Monday, December 26, 2011, 8:08pm
Chris Johnson could miss practice time this week with sore ankle but expected to be a go Sunday.
Friday, December 23, 2011, 6:27pm
Titans RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 16. He's expected to play, though he'll be at less than 100%. The last time CJ1K faced the Jaguars (win Week 1), he gained 49 total yards and failed to find the endzone.
Thursday, December 22, 2011, 6:47pm
Titans RB Chris Johnson (ankle) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. The Titans are expecting that Johnson won't be himself this week and Jamie Harper is expected to see a bigger role than usual against the Jaguars. Johnson reportedly looked fine running, but cutting will be an issue.