CJ, Titans says not to worry about numbers being down
Is there something wrong with Chris Johnson?
His production may not look too far off through three games, but a closer look at the numbers will show at least mild cause for concern.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=chris+johnson+titans&iid=9857865″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9857865/tennessee-titans-new-york/tennessee-titans-new-york.jpg?size=500&imageId=9857865″ width=”234″ height=”340″ /]Johnson is fifth in the league in rushing (301 yards) and first in carries (75). That puts his average at 4.0 per carry, the next-to-worst average among the top 15 rushers.
Moreover, 53.3 percent of Johnson’s carries this season have gone for 2 yards or less.
Last season Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per carry and only 44.7 percent of his runs were for 2 yards or less.
Is he worried about his numbers being down through three games?
“Nah, I’m pretty good,” Johnson said Friday. “We’re 2-1 right now. That’s all that matters.”
ESPN.com AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and I have discussed CJ frequently in the Titans media room. Here are some numbers he had run that put Johnson’s numbers from this season and last into better context.
Fullback Ahmard Hall said concerns over CJ’s production to this point are overblown.
“I think everybody is reading way too much into CJ rushing for not that many yards per game,” Hall said. “At the end of the day the goal is to win and we’re winning. We’re 2-1 right now.
“He’s not sneaking up on anybody. Everybody knows he’s the best back in the league, and their goal is to contain him. If he gets 100 yards that’s great for them. They feel as if they won. … Once we get the whole offense going full steam, the passing game and everything stretching out and opening up the field, you’ll see those 200-yard games and those big runs.”
Three-hundred yards in three games isn’t that bad, but Johnson’s self-proclaimed goal in the preseason was 2,500 yards.
“He’s having a good year,” Hall said. “He’s rushing for 100 yards a game. If any other RB were doing that he’s having a great year.”
The Broncos would appear to pose a challenge to the Titans running game. They rank 10th in the league in rushing defense, allowing just 94.3 yards per game.
“They’re a pretty good defense, pretty athletic guys,” Johnson said. “They’ll have their 8-9 guys in the box. I just have to stay patient, not get frustrated and make my runs.”