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Chris Johnson’s conditioning questioned

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

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.

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38 Responses to “Chris Johnson’s conditioning questioned”
  1. 1captain1 says: Oct 24, 2011 8:48 AM

    So the 3 wins were credited the Hasslebeck and the 3 losses are credited to Johnson!?

    Ha!

  2. waxedagain says: Oct 24, 2011 8:51 AM

    One more reason Deion Sanders sounds like an idiot when he repeatedly screams ‘ Pat Da Man!’ for anyone who happenes to be playing well in his contract year. I am surprised there aren’t more anonymous sources mumbling that there are indications that Johnson was using PEDs during his monster season two seasons ago.

  3. turtlehut says: Oct 24, 2011 8:59 AM

    As often happens in professional sports, once a player signs a huge contract with lots of guaranteed dollars, they no longer have any incentive to perform.

  4. donterrelli says: Oct 24, 2011 9:16 AM

    It’s simple: he got his money, now he won’t work as hard. He’ll have another crap season next year and TENN will have to release him due to his contract.

  5. tbih says: Oct 24, 2011 9:25 AM

    Pass blocking is not the same as run blocking.

    The TEAM is averaging 3.0 yards per carry.

    Honestly, do you guys even watch football, cause you sure as don’t know anything about it.

  6. norseyapper says: Oct 24, 2011 9:27 AM

    How could he not be in shape with a conditioning program that consists of running to the bank with a huge bag of cash every day.

    What you see is a guy who is getting to the line and dancing rather than exploding through as he used to do.

  7. wenellniners says: Oct 24, 2011 9:30 AM

    since he’s not performing, they should restructure his contract. i remember this guy talking about being paid more than the top qbs in the league.

    they should have stuck to their guns and never gave him the money. this guy only works when he has the incentive to be paid.

  8. lacharger2112 says: Oct 24, 2011 9:31 AM

    Shaun Alexander 2.0 If he follows what Alexander did once he got paid, Johnson will be out of the NFL before you can say “guaranteed contract.”

  9. nagidac says: Oct 24, 2011 9:36 AM

    The other team owners have to love him since they can all point to him as a cautionary tale as someone who isn’t earning his big contract when it comes time for other elite RBs to resign.

  10. johnny696 says: Oct 24, 2011 9:36 AM

    But at least he got some new gold teeth.

  11. pacificnw7722 says: Oct 24, 2011 9:40 AM

    “Greg Cosell said Johnson has turned into a back that shies away from contact.”

    Got da $$ and don’t wanna get smacked around!

  12. txndave says: Oct 24, 2011 9:49 AM

    From a Texan fan prospective, he looked like he didn’t want to play. When they benched him he looked like he didn’t even care.

  13. 3yardsndust says: Oct 24, 2011 9:52 AM

    Chris got paid and got lazy. Blaming his blockers says it all.

    They should bench him for Javon Ringer. Maybe a little public humiliation will put the spark in him.

  14. thejuddstir says: Oct 24, 2011 9:54 AM

    Cushing’s assessment of CJ’s dislike for “contact” has been echoed by many other NFL minds. And to think that once upon a time CJ tried to claim he was the best RB in the NFL…..he should try watching film of A. Peterson who relishes the hitting and punishment that he can put on defensive players. CJ got his and now it’s into the bust tank.

  15. scudbot says: Oct 24, 2011 9:59 AM

    turlehut, it’s true in some cases but not in all cases. There are 0 Packers dogging it, for instance.

    Case in point is K Mason Crosby, who received what most GB fans thought was a shockingly large contract for an erratic kicker. He’s made 20 straight FGs since.

  16. go9ers says: Oct 24, 2011 10:00 AM

    He’s just too weighed down by the size of his paycheck. Prior to the new contract, he was crying about how he was outperforming his contract and should be paid more. If he’s not a hypocrite, he acknowledges that he is now far underperforming his contract and gives some money back.

  17. scudbot says: Oct 24, 2011 10:00 AM

    Sorry, meant 10 straight – fat finger typo.

  18. first2bomb says: Oct 24, 2011 10:02 AM

    He’s not as good as he thinks. Is he fast? Of course…

    He’s fast to point his finger at the o-line..

    News for you C J, the offense is a unit. So your just as responsible for horrific run game…

    Nuff said

  19. pistolsmoke says: Oct 24, 2011 10:02 AM

    Def. shows you who are the real great RB’s in the league. CJ holds out, gets paid, and sucks. AP never holds out, gets paid, and is having a career year (even though his team sucks).

    I hope Tennessee has a receipt for that purchase.

  20. bangbangbilly says: Oct 24, 2011 10:03 AM

    Forte and Johnson should switch contracts

  21. senti45 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:08 AM

    Adrian is better

  22. edgarh21 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:18 AM

    If CJ is right, we may have the San Diego case again where the line isnt blocking but that doesn’t make them bad players. LTs last year the line wasnt blocking very good on the run but did amazing for pass. Just because you’re a good pass blocker doesn’t mean your a good run blocker. Again this is all theory.

  23. obie09 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:29 AM

    To the people that say CJ is done and isn’t good anymore, look at the all time greats in a similiar spot of their careers.

    Jim Brown: 5 games 81 carries 265 yards 2 tds
    This was his 3rd year, weeks 2-6

    Barry Sanders: 5 games 85 carries, 255 yards, and 1 td
    This was in Barry’s 4th year, weeks 2-6.

    Eric Dickerson: 5 games 95 carries 285 yards 3 tds
    This was his 3rd year, weeks 2-6

    Walter Payton 4 games, 78 carries 225 yards 2 TDS
    This was his 5th year, weeks 11-14

    Or what about OJ Simpsons 1974 off year after running for 2000 yards and only running for 1100? he was under 4 ypc for 10 of 14 games, but then came back to run 1800 and 1500 the next two years.

    I’m not saying CJ belongs in this group, just that the all time greats have all had similiar streaks, It’s a little too early to say CJ is done completely like many are saying.

    If the all time greats have had streaks like these, and CJ doesn’t fit into that group, then I’m sure the less than great RB’s have it happen much more often.

    Chris Johnson: 6 games 93 carries 268 yards 1 td

  24. joj0420 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:32 AM

    he got his money, now he could careless how his game is. just the tyipcal money hungry black man

  25. countsnail says: Oct 24, 2011 10:35 AM

    CJ wanted a big contract

    CJ got a big contract

    CJ doesn’t care anymore

    CJ is now content with simply collecting his guaranteed money

    That about sums up the problem with Chris Johnson this season.

    P.S. Thanks for tanking my fantasy football season, you bum.

  26. svcfilmguy says: Oct 24, 2011 10:39 AM

    Where did his “I’m going for the all-time record” swagger go? If you think you’re good enough to be in the same class as guys like Jim Brown, you shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone else. A typical self-centered clown: when I’m good, it’s because I’m great. When I’m not, it’s because of everyone around me.

  27. richm2256 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:52 AM

    svcfilmguy says:
    Where did his “I’m going for the all-time record” swagger go? If you think you’re good enough to be in the same class as guys like Jim Brown, you shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone else. A typical self-centered clown: when I’m good, it’s because I’m great. When I’m not, it’s because of everyone around me.
    —————————————————————-

    Nailed it. A+

    He wanted more $$$ when he was “over-performing” his contract, how will he feel about taking a paycut now that he’s “under-performing”?

    Johnson can still yap about hitting 2,000 yards, but now he means for the rest of his career, not one season.

  28. bsizemore68 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:54 AM

    He is just another player who sucks after a big pay day, the word pride fails most of the players today. Bill

  29. obie09 says: Oct 24, 2011 10:55 AM

    You people are ridiculous for saying that when he was playing well he wasn’t thanking his line.. Don’t you even remember that season? He was saying the line is amazing all year and he bought them all rings.

  30. cheapseater says: Oct 24, 2011 11:00 AM

    senti45 says:
    Oct 24, 2011 10:08 AM
    Adrian is better

    ————————————————-

    and Arian
    and Tate
    and MJD

    He’s not even in the top 3 of the AFC South…

  31. das14 says: Oct 24, 2011 11:13 AM

    He’s a bum. He’s lost whatever he had. It’s gone, go play golf.

  32. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Oct 24, 2011 11:46 AM

    He needs to give money back. I mean if he plays well he wants more money so wouldn’t it only be right to give money back when he is the worst starter in the league?

  33. granadafan says: Oct 24, 2011 2:17 PM

    At the end of the season, the Titans should evaluate whether Johnson’s contract needs to be restructured. Then they should ban him from the facility in a “hold out” until he restructures, ie., pay cut.

  34. dukemarc says: Oct 24, 2011 2:36 PM

    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.
    ——————————————–

    He’s being held back by all that cash he’s got stuffed in his pockets. Simple case of paying a guy and then that guy doesn’t want to play hard anymore. The other part of it might be speed guys like CJ need space – it’s not like Johnson is going to break tackles to get free.

  35. tennesseeinsurance says: Oct 24, 2011 7:29 PM

    I’ve noticed that CJ has been not as explosive this year. He’s missing that quick juke and first step on defenders. Sure, you can blame the OL for some of it, but I think he wasn’t properly conditioned before the season started

  36. anacherforester says: Oct 24, 2011 9:26 PM

    It’s the O-line? Please. Offensive lineman would much rather run block than pass block. It’s easy in every possible way.

  37. cdngolfer says: Oct 24, 2011 10:10 PM

    As a Titan fan, I noticed 2 years back that he does not get the tuff yards when it’s 3rd and 2. Which is ok when you break at least a few runs a game. But not ok when you’re not.

  38. harleypuppy says: Oct 25, 2011 12:32 AM

    He got paid and he is telling the Titans to get laid don”t want to get hurt and not be able to spend all that money.

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