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Quarterback and Chris Johnson are the first two issues for Whisenhunt

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With coach Ken Whisenhunt becoming the next coach of the Tennessee Titans, Whisenhunt and G.M. Ruston Webster will have two critical questions to address.

First, who’ll be the quarterback?  Second, what will they do with running back Chris Johnson?

Whisenhunt thrived in Arizona when veteran Kurt Warner served as the starter.  After Warner retired, Whisenhunt and former G.M. Rod Graves gave up millions of ultimately unearned dollars (and a second-round pick) to get Kevin Kolb.  Whisenhunt and Graves likewise swung and missed on various rookies and other assorted journeymen before both were fired.

In Tennessee, Whisenhunt will have to decide whether he thinks he can get the most out of Jake Locker, the eighth overall pick in 2011, and whether Whisenhunt can find a way to keep him healthy.  If it’s not Locker, will Whisenhunt target someone in free agency or the draft?  Will Ryan Fitzpatrick get a chance to be the guy?

Regardless of the decision that is made, Whisenhunt’s success or lack of it will hinge on whether he can find a productive quarterback — and whether he can get the most out of him.

Meanwhile, running back Chris Johnson has made it clear that if he’s not “the guy,” he wants out.  So will Whisenhunt make Johnson the workhorse or pull the plug on a contract that will pay Johnson $8 million this year?

Whisenhunt will have plenty of other questions to answer over the coming days and weeks.  But none are more important than the selection of a quarterback — and the handling of a franchise running back who has earned $30 million over the last three seasons.

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54 Responses to “Quarterback and Chris Johnson are the first two issues for Whisenhunt”
  1. bowdowntopeyton says: Jan 13, 2014 6:44 PM

    Cut johnson…draft best available QB..problems solved

  2. ghjjf says: Jan 13, 2014 6:46 PM

    Trade CJ0.02k

  3. tvjules says: Jan 13, 2014 6:49 PM

    Use that 8 million elsewhere.

  4. beardinals says: Jan 13, 2014 6:50 PM

    His QB decisions (both draft and FA) have been suspect.

    His stubbornness won’t help either. Best of luck to him and the Titans.

  5. yaryers says: Jan 13, 2014 6:50 PM

    What will Whisenhunt do with Johnson?

    If recent history is any indication, he will run him up the gut on 1st and 2nd down for no gain.

  6. dasmol says: Jan 13, 2014 6:50 PM

    A franchise back that was paid 30 million, not so sure he earned that much.

  7. marcuswelby1 says: Jan 13, 2014 6:50 PM

    Move up to get Johnny Football!!!

  8. sf69ers says: Jan 13, 2014 6:55 PM

    Thought Johnson and Stafford were a better fit for his offense. Are the Lions now going to hire another Titans coach?

  9. csbanter says: Jan 13, 2014 6:57 PM

    Mark Sanchez is a possibility as is Vick. Seems like Lions situation would have been a better choice.

  10. alshonbrandontandem says: Jan 13, 2014 7:02 PM

    Remember when Johnson was good? What happened?

  11. fdugrad says: Jan 13, 2014 7:02 PM

    I hope they keep Jake and tell Johnson to kick rocks, ESPECIALLY if he makes demands about his contract. His salad days are completely wilted.

  12. rickrock6661982 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:13 PM

    Basically Whisenhunt accepted the exact same team and problems he was fired from in Arizona.

    Mistake.

  13. moerawn says: Jan 13, 2014 7:15 PM

    He’s the Wiz, and everybody loves him!

  14. pillowporkers says: Jan 13, 2014 7:19 PM

    I don’t see the problem with Chris Johnson. Overpaid? Yes. So are many other top paid players at their position (Flacco anyone??). If you are paid at the top, you need to stay at the top season after season (which is nearly impossible to do) in order to play up to your contract. People already act like Adrian Peterson isn’t the best RB in football cuz he had a “down” year for 1,266. Such short memories for fans in this game. Guess what? He’s still the best RB in NFL I don’t care what anyone says. I’ve watched them all play.

    Chris Johnson has never rushed for under 1,000 yards in a season. Also, he NEVER gets hurt. It’s a nice positive to have a bellcow RB. A lot of haters. He definitely is annoying at times, but still a great weopon that a good offensive mind should be able to get a lot out of.

  15. flipola says: Jan 13, 2014 7:21 PM

    If Fitzpatrick is even considered for an opportunity to become “the guy”, Whis should be fired on the spot.

  16. dalcow4 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:21 PM

    Chris Johnson doesn’t have to worry about carries.
    Whisenhunt will run the ball every first down of the season. and most of the second downs.

    The resulting 3rd and longs? Locker scrambling for his life as the DEs tee off.

  17. smokingconch says: Jan 13, 2014 7:24 PM

    Ken Whisenhunt in charge of a talented team without a QB… what could go wrong?

  18. bert1913 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:25 PM

    no really good qb= no job security. (when healthy locker is not accurate enough)

  19. gborange says: Jan 13, 2014 7:27 PM

    Johnson and Locker both have to go. They should spend a ton and go all in on a high powered offense. They’ve been doing the same old “run the ball and play defense garbage for 15 years. The difference between the Titans and the 4 teams left in the playoffs is those 4 teams have smart, talented, and trustworthy QB’s and no diva RBs like Johnson!

  20. bayliss4prez says: Jan 13, 2014 7:32 PM

    I’m not sure if Locker will be a good fit with Wiz. I can see Chris Johnson panning out, especially if Russ Grimm becomes the OL coach.

  21. nfldoc says: Jan 13, 2014 7:33 PM

    “Whisenhunt’s success or lack of it will hinge on whether he can find a productive quarterback.” And the same goes for the new Coaches in Cleveland, Houston and Minnesota. Its a QB League and the QB makes or breaks the Coach.

  22. muppet24 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:40 PM

    Set an example that nobody is bigger than the team by cutting Chris Johnson.

  23. garyhd01 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:43 PM

    the qb decision as i see it is the bigger question mark #1 you can find a rb later in the draft and if the line is making big holes they may go 20 yards instead of 30 but you keep the chains moving etc. now qb is a potential problem at #11. trade up and get above minn and one of the top 4 qbs could be had stand pat and then you get to wish in one hand….. well you know the rest

  24. ninefingers9 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:47 PM

    He’ll be a college OC within 5 years! Sorry Tennessee!

  25. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 13, 2014 7:52 PM

    Trade Johnson. Draft a QB to compete.

  26. polapea says: Jan 13, 2014 7:53 PM

    Think Locker has some potential. Maybe bring in a veteran to push him. They definitely need some more weapons on O and o-line help to protect Locker so I don;t think you can give up on him yet.

    CJ- see ya. Guy is nothing but problems and he’s underachieved since he’s been paid.

  27. pfic15 says: Jan 13, 2014 7:56 PM

    I’m gonna go watch Chris Johnson interviews for a good laugh.

  28. flipola says: Jan 13, 2014 7:58 PM

    He can’t be content to settle for whatever QB is at 11. If Locker’s not their guy, make a big move. Be unconventional, for once. Don’t sit and reach. That’s how Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Minnesota got into this mess.

  29. toonzes says: Jan 13, 2014 7:59 PM

    Ken is a Lions fan, thank you for choosing the Titans! Detroit already has had a few crappy retreads… and a couple of so, so first timers. I predict the Titans to remain “also rans” until the next coaching change. and I hope Detroit goes with anyone who isn’t the flava of the day.

  30. monkeesfan says: Jan 13, 2014 8:00 PM

    Keeping Jake Locker upright and healthy will be priority #1, and I have confidence that will happen because Locker’s injury history doesn’t speak to fundamental fragility; it is reminscent of Matthew Stafford when he missed most of his first two seasons and hasn’t missed a game since. Locker’s improvement as a quarterback was palpable last season and he looks like he will be very good.

    Chris Johnson more and more looks like a lost cause; he’s putting himself over the team and the last couple of years he’s looked hesitant as a runner.

  31. jmblosser82 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:02 PM

    Jake locker was doing very well until he got hurt. If they can find a way to keep him healthy he can be the answer. Johnson on the other hand, in his mind it’s all about him. There is maybe 5 RBs you could justify paying 8 mil, he isn’t 1 of them. He can hit the home run but mist if the time he is lucky to be average.

    Keep Locker, get him another WR, cut or try to trade Johnson.

  32. coltzfan166 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:09 PM

    It’ll be just like Arizona 2012, a 4-12 season constantly changing QBs.

  33. guachosporlife says: Jan 13, 2014 8:24 PM

    Get rid of that RB diva, it’s a heavy RB draft and just concentrate on finding that QB.

  34. spliff219 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:28 PM

    They have some beasts on that o line. I like chris johnson but for the money hes not worth it. Draft your QB, cut cj?k, Get MJD at way cheeper 3 yr deal, upgrade needs on D in draft and F.A

  35. ugadogs21 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:40 PM

    He needs an established vet. It’s fact known to us here in Arizona that Whisenhunt has absolutely no idea how to select or groom a QB..That combined with that the fact that he sees to thrive on creating pissing contest topped off by his penchant for holding grudges and you got a great situation in the works there Tennessee.

    Unless Whisenhunt has changed (and I doubt it) Jake Locker will be run out of town during OTAs if he even makes it that far.

  36. rubenxx7 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:44 PM

    Locker is a back vup qb and he has to get rid cj.

  37. fnc111 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:45 PM

    Drafting Johnny F will be the key.

  38. phinfan says: Jan 13, 2014 8:47 PM

    wizzinator

  39. chrisk61 says: Jan 13, 2014 8:52 PM

    and a third is to get rid of that cancer kenny britt

  40. tseymour78 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:04 PM

    Everyone hates on Johnson and yet he still had over 1,000 rushing yards for the sixth straight season. If you watch him play, you can see he still has his game changing speed and agility. He was never used right in Munchak’s offense.

  41. titansbro says: Jan 13, 2014 9:14 PM

    Gotta give Locker 1 more year. If Locker fails or gets hurt Wiz will survive it for sure.

    CJ? Easy call, trade him if you can. Likely can’t so cut him if not.

  42. hitking60 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:20 PM

    Look at Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore’s total scrimmage yards and look at CJ’s. Then look a their yards per touch and look at CJ’s. You can throw Marshawn Lynch in there too. CJ’s year was pretty much identical to their’s. Why would you get rid of a guy like that?

    As for Locker, he blows. Let him try again this year but have a backup plan.

  43. elliottcovert says: Jan 13, 2014 9:25 PM

    I’m convinced that Johnson just doesn’t have it anymore. He’s been inconsistent at best since 2010, and he averaged only 3.9 YPC this season. He’s going to be 29 and he only weighs 190 lbs., so the punishment he’s taken is going to start to show up quickly. I’d try to trade him and get a mid to late round pick.

    As for Locker, I dunno. He seems like he’s got promise but he has a lot of trouble staying on the field. He’s under contract for another year, so it can’t hurt to keep him around since he’s a cheap post-2011 draft pick, so Wisenhunt can get a chance to see if he’s got the goods.

  44. tjjohnson98 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:44 PM

    So just give him a HOF caliber QB and he will do okay… Problem solved!

  45. brimab says: Jan 13, 2014 9:52 PM

    I hear that Kolb is available…

  46. ianijm says: Jan 13, 2014 10:06 PM

    Dump Johnson. He’ll turn 29 at the beginning of next season and is nearing the end of his productive years as a back. No sense sinking all that dough into him when productive runners are out there a dime a dozen. Spend places that matter.

  47. whodey420 says: Jan 13, 2014 10:46 PM

    I’m just glad that’s one more job that my boy Mike Zimmer isn’t hired away from the Bengals for!

    Zimmer definitely deserves a head coaching job!! I just hope it’s in Cincinnati after Marvin’s contract is up after 2014!! I know, I’m selfish! Hopefully no flights can land in Minnesota tomorrow!!

  48. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 13, 2014 11:04 PM

    LOL @ the bitter Lions fans on here.

  49. boomgrounder says: Jan 14, 2014 1:11 AM

    As a Jaguars fan I would tell Whisenhunt that Locker is your Franchise QB and Chris Johnson is still the guy at RB. But that’s just me!

  50. jeremycrowhurst says: Jan 14, 2014 1:31 AM

    Since he got paid, Johnson’s been a great player, in November. But when you use the first month of the season to get in shape, instead of, oh, say, the off-season or training camp, you aren’t earning your money.

    Johnson’s at the age where you can’t do that anymore. If you want to be productive after age 27 or 28, you have to work twice as hard as you did at age 22 or 23. If he’s not in near-peak shape in the OTAs, he’s done.

    I don’t think Whisenhunt has a lot of patience for players with Johnson’s lack of work ethic.

  51. truths4all says: Jan 14, 2014 4:05 AM

    Brian St. Pierre, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer, Derek Anderson, Max Hall, Richard Bartel, Kevin Kilb, John Skelton, and Matt Leinart have all played NFL QB for Whisenhunt. He failed to develop any of them to where they proved to be acceptable NFL starting QBs.

    Whisenhunt played mind games with his QBs and proved to be a poor manager, often yanking a QB for personal and imaginary reasons, even if the game was on the line and could be won.

    Let’s see how soon he runs Jake Locker out of town and then brings in the kind of QBs that has appealed to him in the past.

  52. truths4all says: Jan 14, 2014 4:14 AM

    Whisenhunt has already encountered a situation like the Chris Johnson one when he was the HC at the Cards.

    Anquan Boldin was run out of Arizona by Whisenhunt who felt Boldin as too slow, too old, and certainly not the money receiver who was worth the money he wanted to be paid. So Whisenhunt and Rod Graves shipped Boldin to the Ravens where Boldin proved to be the best money receiver in the NFL during the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship year and is now proving it again with the 49ers. So much for Whisenhunt’s talent evaluation abilities.

    Things are not looking good at all for the Titans. How long will it be before the Titans GM starts hiding when Whisenhunt runs the team into the bottom behind the Jags and Texans?

  53. cluelessdufus says: Jan 14, 2014 5:00 AM

    It seems people forget the Chris still had another 1,000 yard season on a average of 3.9 YPC which isn’t that bad. Personally, I’m still open to cutting him and would look at Ben Tate or MJD on a year deal. To add to that, this running back class is full of talent. Now quarterback is very thin. The best they can do to push Locker is Freemen. {If they keep him} otherwise #11 pick probably won’t call a franchise quarterback without trading up ahead of Jacksonville,Minnesota, or Cleveland. Incase they see Boyd as a top 15 pick, this probably means that Locker is there guy or they are exploring the trade market.

  54. briwas101 says: Jan 15, 2014 7:36 AM

    This is why giving out huge contracts to anyone but a QB, DT, DE, and LT is stupid.

    Those positions can make or break a franchise.

    RB and WR just dont deserve huge contracts.

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