Titans running back Chris Johnson is coming off the worst season of his NFL career. In 2011, Johnson set career lows in rushing yards, yards per carry, and touchdowns. Everyone seemed to have their own explanation for Johnson’s struggles over the course of the year. Johnson didn’t look like the player he once was.
But Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Friday’s Inside Training Camp Live that Johnson appears to have rediscovered past elite form so far in camp. While running backs are difficult to evaluate accurately before full-contact football activities, Rapoport says the early signs are promising for the player once nicknamed “CJ2K.”
“I’ve been stunned,” said Rapoport, who is live at Titans training camp. “He looks like the Chris Johnson of old. … He’s fast, he’s in shape. Looks like he’s primed for a big year.”
NFL Network’s Charley Casserly also stated Friday that the Titans believe Johnson “came to camp on a mission,” after falling well short in 2011 of the standard he’d previously set.
The Titans are holding a quarterback competition, and their best wide receiver is recovering from his third knee surgery in the past ten months. Kenny Britt also figures to face a league-imposed suspension for an offseason arrest.
Considering the six-year, $55.26 million contract they paid him last September, it would be nice if the Titans could count on Johnson to be a stabilizing element to their 2012 offense.
If Rapoport’s instincts are correct, they should be able to do just that.