Chris Johnson: Future primary back?

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As a result of being a first round pick, high expectations have been firmly placed upon the shoulders of Chris Johnson. His ability to make plays running, receiving and returning the football will be counted on heavily as the Titans look to improve an offense searching for playmakers.
Despite his small stature, Johnson packs a powerful punch. According to his draft profile, Chris has room on his frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk without sacrificing his elite speed and quickness.
Could Johnson follow in the footsteps of other smallish backs who became every down RBís such as Brian Westbrook and Willie Parker?

Of course, LenDale White will most likely be the teamís†main running back in 2008. Coming off of a 1,110 yard rushing performance on a torn meniscus, White will be expected to again carry the load in the Titansí running game.
However, if White fails to live up to the expectations that surround him, I could easily envision a scenario where Johnson becomes a primary back down the road. The aforementioned Westbrook and Parker are good examples of small backs that have developed into more than capable primary runners.
Plodding running backs have been the staple of Jeff Fisher ball. Before LenDale White, there was the grinding style of Travis Henry and before him, the power running of Titan legend Eddie George. The speedy Johnson is a departure from the type of back weíre accustomed to seeing in Nashville.
Though it will be exciting to see how Johnson fares on special teams and the passing game, Iím especially enthused about his potential in the running game. It should be interesting to see if his unique blend of speed, vision and patience will be successful in the NFL.
In 2008, the Titans are hoping that LenDale can be the thunder and Johnson can serve as the lightning in their rushing attack. However, donít be surprised if Johnson steals some of LenDaleís thunder by becoming more than a change of pace back in the Titansí backfield next year and beyond.

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12 Responses to “Chris Johnson: Future primary back?”

  1. jrtitans Says:

    Im all for Chris–I hope he will be the home run hitter we want. Has he signed yet? whats the progress?
    Big news: Big Country signed a mutli-year deal!

  2. Scott Says:

    Like you Drexel, I am hoping that Chris Johnson can become the lead dog in the mold of a Brian Westbrook. If opposing defences are worried about him and whether he will be running or catching the ball underneath, then that could open things up for our recievers as well.
    With Johnson as the number 1 running back and White as the Jerome Bettis-type short yardage power back, then the Titans should have a long run of playoff appearances over the next few years.

  3. Myles Says:

    I really hope he becomes the next Westbrook/Marshall Faulk. That would be excellent.

  4. bobby busche Says:

    dont count out the other chris on the team. chris henry looks much like a compromise of power and speed. with lendale bruising up the middle, and CJ running around people like its his job chris henry should be a nice secret weapon. that is if he can stay on the field

  5. Drexel Perry Says:

    jrtitans,
    I haven’t heard anything about Chris Johnson and when he’s going to sign his contract. Considering he was drafted immediately behind fellow rookie RB’s Felix Jones and R. Mendenhall, I can imagine that Johnson and his agent are waiting for those guys to sign first.
    Signing Stewart means that the Titans’ have young bookend tackles locked up for the foreseeable future. Nice job by the front office.
    bobby busche,
    Henry shouldn’t be counted out, but he’s gotta step up if he expects to get playing time next season. As you said, he has the physical tools: now it’s time for him to put it all together.
    As always, thanks for commenting guys.

  6. Pirate man Says:

    Titan fans I live in Greenville and also went to ECU. CJ is the truth. Rookie of the year and much faster and stronger than Bush. Just Lendale after this year.

  7. Garo Says:

    Pirate touched on it…CJ will do everything Bush does but a little faster. I actually envision him being the cause of a domino effect. Just using him on motions and showing reverse will open up running lanes for LenDale/Henry. And using him in the slot will open up Algie Crumpler and get more favorable matchups. More importantly, it will be very hard to spy VY now.
    I agree 100% with the main topic of this article. I see no reason why he wont be a Westbrook or even LaDamion Tomlinson type back.

  8. David H. Says:

    I’m all for a faster Brian Westbrook or a Marshall Faulk with 4.24 speed. Just hope Fish dosen’t put too much of a workload on those shoulders. I wanna see this guy have the same type of career that Westbrook and Faulk have had (with Faulk’s ring of course) not just be a 1 hit wonder.

  9. jerry t Says:

    CJ rookie of the year, superbowl mvp you name it.
    like i said he’s the real deal.

  10. Markus Says:

    Couple points:
    1. I found this site just bafter the draft and I will say it is by far the best place to go for Titans news/opinions! It is also the first site I visit every day (after work stuff, naturally)
    2. How can I join? I am told there’s no availability right now…
    3. I was initially pissed off when we took CJ in the first with so many options on the table (I was thinking Kentwan Balmer or Mike Jenkins), but after thinking about it, it makes sense!
    Here’s why: Chow was majority of the problem..60% I’d say, the receiver’s dropped passes, yes…but VY could have been a little better too. CJ will open up the offense completely! ‘Dinger will master the personnel and I can see why they took CJ. There will be no more spies on VY. There will be no more 2-3 defenders waiting for him outside the hash marks. CJ and Alge will demand coverage. A guarantee the FS/SS will have to cheat down to spy them. Now V can run or throw over the top…a la Mc9…Plus LenDale takes too long to hit the holes. He either gets his 7 yards or gets dropped in the backfield.
    Either way, I see a good season in tow for us. It did not take long to install Dinger’s offense the first time with a similar roster: promising offensive weapons and a stingy defense…this time around the playmakers are a little more dynamic! I think we’ll run into the 2nd round, if not the AFC championship barring serious injuries…plural…
    2009-2010 should be SB bound!
    P.S.-Watch out for Ealy…he’s a sleeper-I told people last year too!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Drexel Perry Says:

    Markus,
    Thanks for the compliment and your thoughts about the Titans offense.
    Ealy’s been turning some heads and has been taking reps as the team’s #3 receiver during OTA’s. It’s going to be fun watching him compete for playing time this year.

  12. H Says:

    CJ will be amazing with his blend of talent. Im really excited about their offense! Biren Ealy will hopefuly get some playing time in the reg.He can be the next Vincent Jackson! VY will have lots more help this year and i think they’ll go deep in the post season..!

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