I get you, Chris Johnson. I’m not a fan of mornings either. First of all, the waking up part is horrible, as usually in those first few minutes after the alarm rings I’d rather do anything else with my life than get out of bed. Name the cliff, I’m jumping.
But the Titans running back was especially grumpy this morning, or at least he was in a quote discussing a troubling matter that surfaced in the wee hours.
Johnson voiced his opinion on the Titans’ signing of Shonn Greene during free agency, a move that fantasy footballers need to be keenly aware of throughout offseason training activities, when we may get at least a faint gauge of how much Greene will eat into Johnson’s carries. I still perhaps stubbornly believe that with Johnson and his home run hitting style (not literally, because hitting home runs in football has little value), to a degree less is more. His game is finding a hole and popping one long, and although some chipping away at the defense is required to make that happen, CJ?K doesn’t need to average over 25 carries a game.
He had 1,263 yards this past season despite his early struggles, and he topped 25 carries only once. Much of his yardage is gained through chunks, as he has 19 carries of 20 yards or more over the past two years, and four that have topped 40 yards. To keep that burst going, Johnson’s minty freshness needs to be maintained, and his pounding should be at least limited. Say what you will about Greene and how much he sucks, but that’s his purpose. He’ll play Peyton Hillis to Johnson’s Jamaal Charles. Ideally.
Johnson doesn’t quite see it that way. Brace for a shocking quote that’s not shocking:
“I have never been a big fan of the two-back system, so I don’t know how we plan on using him. I’m not afraid of competition, but I was thinking we’d maybe get a draft pick for the other back. And you don’t give a guy that kind of money to be just a goal-line guy and in tough-yardage situations. So we’ll see what happens.”
Wide receivers and running backs by nature want the ball at every possible opportunity. So while the lunatic fringe will scream something about Johnson being a selfish prick with the above comment, the reality is that there would be something wrong if he didn’t think this way. The difference between Johnson and others is that he actually said it publicly. So be it.
While I’m maintaining positive vibes about Greene’s presence on the Titans’ roster and his ability to keep Johnson fresh, he could still limit CJ to RB2 status at best. It doesn’t take much to reach that conclusion after we read these words from head coach Mike Munchak.
“We’re not going to have him as a short-yardage back, a goal-line back and four-minute back and that’s all he does. We feel he can play all three downs. He may get a series where he gets going and we’re taking over the line of scrimmage and you want that runner in there and we leave him in there.”
Generally, Johnson will still be the guy, but he may no longer be THE guy. Get it? Capitalized, a guy is the unquestioned backfield leader, and he’s on the sideline only when he needs a few deep breaths of good, clean oxygen. Without the capitalization, a guy still sits atop his team’s running back depth chart, but if the other guy behind him begins to feel a warming sensation in his hands, he may watch for a while until they cool down.
You may not think that’s much of a problem with Greene, since he’s mostly been just the worst. But then you’ll take a casual glance at his game logs for the 2012 season, and see that hidden amongst his garbage and games in which he hovered around or well below his weekly rushing average of 66.4 yards, he had outings with 94, 161, and 104 yards. He was burning like hot fire, as the kids say.