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Mike Munchak defends Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson AP

There isn’t going to be a change on the Titans’ depth chart at running back.

Even though Javon Ringer got more touches on Sunday and was in the backfield when the game was still somewhat in doubt in the fourth quarter, Chris Johnson remains the starter in Tennessee. Coach Mike Munchak said that the team is sticking with Johnson as starter for Sunday’s game against the Bengals because he believes he is the player who gives them the best chance to win.

That’s not particularly surprising, although the motives might be more complicated than that. Benching your tailback seven games after giving him a huge new contract is a touchy subject, even if Ringer looked better on Sunday. Ringer’s not a great back, but he’s attacking the line of scrimmage in a way that Johnson hasn’t this season.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean said that Johnson’s contract did come up during Munchak’s meeting with the media. The coach said that he feels people have outsized expectations for Johnson in the wake of his new deal. That might be true, but honesty demands mentioning that Johnson would be getting the same kind of criticism if he was making the league minimum. Johnson is averaging 2.8 yards per carry, showing little to no burst and making no tacklers miss when he has the ball. Running backs have been cut for less, so it isn’t like critics are missing some kind of brilliance in CJ’s game.

It’s worth mentioning that Munchak said after the game that the team would let the flow of the game determine which back gets more work. Unless there’s a big change in the next few weeks, that could make Johnson’s status as the starter nothing more than a cosmetic move.

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28 Responses to “Mike Munchak defends Chris Johnson”
  1. trbowman says: Oct 31, 2011 6:06 PM

    “The coach said that he feels people have outsized expectations”

    You’re right, how dare people expect better than 2 yards a carry! Those expectations are ridiculous.

  2. trbowman says: Oct 31, 2011 6:08 PM

    How about he just admits the only reason Chris Johnson still has a role is his contract. If this were just some no name back, he’d of hit the unemployment line already.

  3. baseballstars says: Oct 31, 2011 6:08 PM

    Great players don’t have to have excuses made for their performances after eight weeks.

    Barry Sanders didn’t blame his line or his offensive coordinator.

  4. baseballstars says: Oct 31, 2011 6:09 PM

    This only ensures that the Titans will go nowhere on their first offensive drive.

  5. redbullenergydrink says: Oct 31, 2011 6:09 PM

    Good thing I traded away CJ from my fantasy team.

    And CJ, you don’t have to worry about any “fake fans” any longer. There aren’t too many of them left.

  6. Nikhil Balakumar says: Oct 31, 2011 6:11 PM

    come on CJ, time to get going

  7. nineroutsider says: Oct 31, 2011 6:17 PM

    Wow…I can’t remember a guy ever having this bad of a season giving his previous years.

    His fall has to be worse than Shaun Alexander’s. Hope he bounces back as he was an exciting figure in the game. He was someone I had to watch, like Rodgers, or Calvin Johnson.

  8. 11gixsix says: Oct 31, 2011 6:25 PM

    I’m confused I thought he was the best RB in football? I know there is another 28 in the league but I forgot his name…Johnson I think you need to call AP apologize for saying your the best RB in football and carry Peterson’s jock strap for him

  9. tree2j says: Oct 31, 2011 6:29 PM

    Imma go out on a limb and say he wont reach 2000 yards this year.

  10. burm61 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:34 PM

    Can somebody please man up and just say CJ didn’t stay in shape during his holdout and its affecting his play.

  11. staffordsyear says: Oct 31, 2011 7:08 PM

    There is no way i would have paid this guy if I ran the titans,I would have sent him on his way or play out your contract..money could have been spent better.

  12. semperfi24 says: Oct 31, 2011 7:12 PM

    I guess this answers the question of, why didnt CJ show up to camp while they were working out a deal? The simple answer, he is washed up, out of shape, and didnt want the Titans to yank the offer off the table…

  13. snarkzilla says: Oct 31, 2011 7:12 PM

    According to sources that if I name will get this post yanked, CJ is mostly trying to avoid contact this year which isn’t too productive a path for a RB.

  14. eagleswin says: Oct 31, 2011 8:43 PM

    Running backs will be feeling this disaster for years. Well this one and DeAngelo Williams who also got monster money to be the second best running back on his team.

    Why Carolina gave a running back by committee back a monster contract is beyond me. James Stewart has to feel like he’s worth more money than DeAngelo at this point because he is the better back. Unfortunately they wasted their money on a has been as well.

  15. ravensfan4life52 says: Oct 31, 2011 9:03 PM

    the coach has to defend him because he cant defend himself. I mean he can try to defend himself but no one would understand a word.

  16. staffordsyear says: Oct 31, 2011 9:04 PM

    Jonathan stewart.

  17. phadedwun says: Oct 31, 2011 9:09 PM

    He “only” needs to average approximately 189 yards per game remaining to reach the 2000 yards he promised he would get.

  18. 2ndaryinsanity says: Oct 31, 2011 9:13 PM

    My, how the “mighty” have fallen! CJ has pretty much screwed every other runningback in the league who wants a new contract. I’m sick of all the excuses as to why CJ stinks…
    “The Titans’ line isn’t blocking well; he’s kinda out of shape from the holdout; blah-blah-blah.” Javon Ringer doesn’t seem to have much trouble running behind that same O-Line. Why would CJ be so unprofessional that he allowed himself to get out of shape while waiting for that big contract? Guess he had no intention of earning any of that money. The bottom line is that “play-makers make plays.” Like someone else mentioned… Barry Sanders kicked butt on a bad team.
    The only reason he’s still the “starter” is that the Titans organization doesn’t want to admit they made a mistake caving in. They probably are also afraid of hurting his feelings.

  19. cityofsharks says: Oct 31, 2011 9:23 PM

    Johnson will come thru, Titans will make the playoffs!!!! Not saying they are going to the SuperBowl, but with all the changes and injured Kenny Britt they have done pretty good,just got to keep pushing forward…

  20. ghostofgilchrist says: Oct 31, 2011 9:32 PM

    CJ2K is dead….from Western New York, I give you…FJ2k.

  21. obie09 says: Oct 31, 2011 11:02 PM

    Ringer has been awful to. Before this week he was under 3ypc too. He had some good runs in the 2nd half to boost it up to 3.4 but If you think any RB in the NFL would average over 4 YPC outside of maybe Peterson with this line consistently you haven’t watched enough of them.

    CJ is to blame of course for a large part of it but lets not act like it’s all on him to get this run game sorted out.

    CJ is different from most backs in that he’s so small and he needs a lane to hit to be successful. He’s not the type to power through the line and push the pile 5 yards.

  22. zpfeifer7mn says: Oct 31, 2011 11:10 PM

    Even if his lack of production is due to being out of shape from the lockout, what does that say about him? Can you imagine AP coming in out of shape?, no fricken way. Chris Johnson is getting what he put in. Still something just feels wrong when a player so young (even for a RB), and so”gifted” has such a dramatic drop-off. Maybe he thought HGH testing was going to began this year. Im thinking he used “performance enhancing drugs”to get the contract. Who knows, Im just not a c2.8 fan

  23. 1fast84 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:04 AM

    Any player who holds out and does not attend practice or preseason games just to get more money does not deserve a big contract. When you do that it just shows you dont care about winning, your team or your fans. I’m not a chicago fan but i like how matt forte handled the same situation. He wants a new contract but instead of holding out he came in worked his butt off and showed them he’s worth it.

  24. ron69 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:04 AM

    Have you seen him play? it seems like he’s not Chris Johnson anymore, it feels weird. Big money sometimes works in a funny way.

  25. snarkzilla says: Nov 1, 2011 5:08 AM

    It’s not a matter of him being out of shape any longer. They’re about midway through the season.

    His running is different. He doesn’t want to get hit. If he’s unwilling to try to blast through and the Titans are unable to clear a mile wide alley for him, he’s going to continue to stink it up. It’s pretty clear he’s putting CJ more first than ever.

  26. quittsburghstoolers says: Nov 1, 2011 7:18 AM

    If I was their owner, I’d tell the coach to deactivate this guy for the next game and let Ringer and Harper run the ball.

    At least you know they’ll try their best…

  27. diablito0402 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:02 AM

    Typical big money contract, big laydown next season, i knew this would happen,,

  28. insertrandomletters says: Nov 1, 2011 8:49 PM

    I’ve gotten more points from my kicker than CJ. Why did I waste a first round draft pick on this POS?

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