After Chris Johnson’s latest embarrassing show on Sunday, the Titans running back said that he “wasn’t the issue.”
“If you are watching the game and you can’t tell what’s going on with the run game then I’d say you really don’t know football,” Johnson said.
Some reasonable minds disagree. Terry McCormick of TitanInsider reports that Johnson’s conditioning when he ended his holdout was not “as good as it needed to be.” Johnson denied the claim, but something is up.
This isn’t all about the offensive line. Tennessee has done a terrific job in pass blocking, so it’s not like they don’t have talented guys up front. Johnson had ten carries Sunday and the longest one went for three yards.
Speaking on Yahoo’s football podcast last week, NFL Films producer Greg Cosell said Johnson has turned into a back that shies away from contact. The same lateral movement and explosion hasn’t been there this year.
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said he believed Johnson would get his groove back. But he also issued this telling quote:
“[Johnson] is one of those guys who is a home run hitter. If you hit him early, I think it kind of deters him a little bit,” Cushing said.
For whatever reason, Johnson isn’t running as hard as he used to. The Titans offense is likely to be stuck in quicksand until that changes.