Yes, it’s more on Chris Johnson. I’ll start with this from the great Greg Cosell of NFL Films on this week’s FantasyGuru Matchup podcast:
Well, you have to understand, as we always say, the eye in the sky does not lie. It’s the truth serum. And players know, they see it too. Okay? Right now, Chris Johnson is not running well. He is an avoid contact runner. His teammates can see that. It’s not a scoop what I’m telling you, believe me. So now as a coach, you have to decide, here’s a guy who’s not running real hard or well. Am I going to keep giving him the ball. How are his teammates and my players going to react to that?
Mike Munchak is in a difficult situation here, because Chris Johnson at his best and yes, still on any given play, can he break it? Sure he can. But overall, he is not running with a whole lot of desire and energy, and his teammates can see that. So, I know this isn’t helping from a fantasy standpoint, but he’s got a tough decision to make here. You know, when you put in the tape and you see the other backs like a Ringer, they actually run like they want to run. Now, they’re not as physically talented as Chris Johnson, but they actually run like it means something to them to be out on the field.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, one of the media guys who really sit down and watches games, also wrote about Johnson in this week’s column:
Earlier this year, I evaluated what was wrong with Chris Johnson. At the time, it showed the Titans line was allowing too much penetration. Now I think a lot of the blame has to go to Johnson. He is running tentatively, and he’s missing holes. [Ed.-Breakdown of second CJ's second run.] Johnson is missing holes when they are there and he just doesn’t seem to have the same feel he had during his first three seasons in the league.
It ain’t just me. In other Chris Johnson/run game struggles, FO colleague Ben Muth wrote about the offensive line’s play on Sunday, and just to make it Chris Johnson week, this week’s ESPN In$ider column is on teams that like the Titans that start off throwing the ball well and running the ball poorly. Generally, they start running the ball better, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Titans do that. Just don’t be too surprised if the Titans do it with Ringer.