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Mike Munchak sees reason for optimism in Chris Johnson

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Titans running back Chris Johnson did something he has done far too infrequently this year in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Bengals: He actually made some big plays.

Johnson had a 12-yard run, an 18-yard run, a 20-yard run and a 21-yard catch in the first half of a game that was, by his 2011 standards, great. He didn’t do much in the second half and finished the game with 64 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards, but the big plays in the first half give Titans coach Mike Munchak reason for optimism.

What you saw in the first half is what we hope will continue the rest of the year,” Munchak said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

It’s understandable that Munchak is looking for reasons to be optimistic: The Titans rewarded Johnson’s holdout by giving him an enormous contract prior to the season, and his play has been so bad this season that there’s now talk he might get cut in 2012. Munchak wants to point to anything positive he can about Johnson.

Frankly, Munchak’s comments demonstrate just how much the bar has been lowered for Johnson during his disastrous first half of the season. Even after Sunday’s game, Johnson is 28th in the league in rushing, with 366 yards this season, and his average of 3.02 yards a carry is dead last in the league among the 51 players who have at least 50 carries this season. Johnson has reached the point where one pretty good half is cause for celebration.

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18 Responses to “Mike Munchak sees reason for optimism in Chris Johnson”
  1. jackhaley1 says: Nov 7, 2011 6:21 PM

    CJ must’ve been partying in the off-season, before he signed his new deal, and that’s what has caused his slow start and lack of burst. He will continue to get better IMO; should have 600 rushing yards in the second half.

  2. beaushunter says: Nov 7, 2011 6:23 PM

    “What you saw in the first half is what we hope will continue the rest of the year,” Munchak said

    – Good Luck, It didn’t even last into the second half

  3. greenpacker says: Nov 7, 2011 6:23 PM

    billy joel is the best songwriter to ever live

  4. snarkzilla says: Nov 7, 2011 6:30 PM

    Come on. You typo’d your key sentence.

  5. dracko19 says: Nov 7, 2011 6:33 PM

    I think Chris Johnson has been playing hurt all year. He knew that coming into training camp and if he didn’t get his big $$$ before he reported, he’d never get it since he’s hurt. He’s not telling the staff what’s bugging him cuz if he did, they see this was a legacy injury and could possibly void his contract. He figures if he gets enough games in, he could then report it down the road when the history is much more fuzzy. So far, he’s pulling it off perfectly. Meanwhile, all his FF owners are ready to issue contracts on the guy. Crazy

  6. beckzhere says: Nov 7, 2011 6:34 PM

    Overrated.

  7. The Phantom Stranger says: Nov 7, 2011 6:35 PM

    Blind squirrel acorn.

  8. nineroutsider says: Nov 7, 2011 7:05 PM

    I said it last week and I will say it again, he’ll be back.

  9. slammincamnewton says: Nov 7, 2011 7:37 PM

    Optimism = Getting 75 yds this weekend against the worst run D in the league.

  10. vikesfansteve says: Nov 7, 2011 8:11 PM

    He had 3 real nice runs.

  11. thatboi901 says: Nov 7, 2011 8:21 PM

    “I think Chris Johnson has been playing hurt all year. He knew that coming into training camp and if he didn’t get his big $$$ before he reported, he’d never get it since he’s hurt. He’s not telling the staff what’s bugging him cuz if he did, they see this was a legacy injury and could possibly void his contract. He figures if he gets enough games in, he could then report it down the road when the history is much more fuzzy. So far, he’s pulling it off perfectly. Meanwhile, all his FF owners are ready to issue contracts on the guy. Crazy”

    That is ridiculous. First of all, how would he get during a lockout and holdout? Second, if he was really hurt he had 9 weeks to say he got hurt during a game and not worry about voiding his contract. Third, if Titans gave him a huge deal without some type of physical that’s on them.

    It is clear he is not in his normal condition. He never used to get chased down from behind.

  12. obie09 says: Nov 7, 2011 8:31 PM

    Worst run d in the league? Cincy is ranked 2nd in the NFL. Also he didn’t produce in the 2nd half because try didnt give him the ball (only 4 carries) and they weren’t to the outside where he had been successful in te first half. But sure you guys can find a way to hate on him even when he plays well. He had 18 touches for 110 yards. I’ll take that any week .

  13. phadedwun says: Nov 7, 2011 8:35 PM

    “Optimism = Getting 75 yds this weekend against the worst run D in the league.”

    …I hate when people make stupid statements like this. Uninformed statements in an attempt to sound witty.

    Fact: Bengals have the second best run defense in the entire league.

    If you’re going to attempt to diss CJ – at least don’t make things up.

  14. claydefayette says: Nov 7, 2011 9:12 PM

    I like it how the report came out about how Tennessee could release Chris Johnson after the season with little financial penalty. You think Johnson was going to run a little harder?

  15. 00maltliquor says: Nov 7, 2011 11:17 PM

    C.J. is a cotdamn BUM! He runs fast with the ball but runs even faster with money!

  16. redrifle14 says: Nov 8, 2011 1:43 AM

    Bengals fan here. Our 2nd ranked Run Defense held guys like Frank Gore, Peyton Hillis, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones Drew, and Fred Jackson in check all year. CJ ran the ball down our throats in the 1st half plain and simple. By far the best back we faced all year. If they wouldve given him the ball 20 more times in the 2nd half, we would’ve lost….. Give respect when respect is due.

  17. 3yardsndust says: Nov 8, 2011 9:24 AM

    In 10 years, CJ will be flat broke – having spent every last dime on fast cars, loose girls, drugs, nice houses, etc.

  18. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Nov 8, 2011 9:35 AM

    phadedwun says:
    Nov 7, 2011 8:35 PM
    “Optimism = Getting 75 yds this weekend against the worst run D in the league.”

    …I hate when people make stupid statements like this. Uninformed statements in an attempt to sound witty.

    Fact: Bengals have the second best run defense in the entire league.
    ————————————–
    The Panthers, however (who the Titans play this weekend), have a lousy run D.

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