Week 2 Aftershocks: What's Wrong with Chris Johnson?
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 17, 2012
Chris Johnson will be receiving a salary of $8 million dollars this season. After two games in which Johnson has amassed a TOTAL of 21 rushing yards on 19 carries, it’s safe to say he isn’t earning his keep.
Johnson’s productivity started to dwindle after Johnson’s 2009 season where he rushed for 2,006 yards, and again after he signed his new contract in September of last year.
Here are Johnson’s post-CJ2K numbers:
2010 – 1,364 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs, 245 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD.
While those are objectively stellar running back numbers, they are still a big drop-off from the year before. They simply seemed to reflect a shift in how defenses focused on him.
2011 – 1,047 rushing yard, 4 rushing TDs, 418 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs
Even though the receiving numbers were up, Johnson disappeared in the end zone.
So, now as Johnson has gotten off to a start where he’s producing 1.1 ypc (yards per carry), is he on a free fall in terms of being a productive member of his team, and an upper echelon back in this league?
I think the answer to that is no, but it doesn’t mean Johnson is poised for a strong year. Remember all those highlights from ’09 where he had 50+-yard touchdowns after 50+-yard touchdown? In reality, he had seven touchdowns from over 50 yards, although it seemed like many more. That’s because Johnson is a brilliant runner in open space, and in ’09 he got plenty of opportunities.
But as Johnson has logged more years in the league, he is excelling less and less at everything else. He has not displayed the type of strength and ability to plug the nooks and crannies necessary in short-yardage situation. His cutting also seems less sharp. And his hands have not been as reliable as years past.
Sure, Johnson does not play for an offensive powerhouse. But elite backs like Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew don't either -- they become the offense. Johnson has proven too one-dimensional to do the same for Tennessee.
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