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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Double Coverage: Johnson vs. Jones-Drew

By Paul Kuharsky and Matt Williamson

Double Coverage
Who is the better back: Chris Johnson or Maurice Jones-Drew? We debate the topic.
It came up so often in the weekly AFC South chats that Kuharsky told his editor it should be a Double Coverage topic.

So Williamson of Scouts Inc. and Kuharsky recently got on the phone and argued it out: Who's the better back, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew or Tennessee's Chris Johnson?

We already can picture Houston fans running to send e-mails protesting that Steve Slaton was not included. (Sorry folks. He's a wonderful player, but both of us have him third in this conversation right now. We touch on that in here.)

We cover everything we could think of: durability, reliability, speed, versatility, leadership, blocking, complimentary pieces and the context of their teams.

Here's a summary from each of us on why we took the position we did:
Kuharsky: I'm repetitive in this debate because I keep circling back to the one thing that I think sets Johnson apart -- his blazing speed. When defensive coordinators are planning for the Titans, they're up late, worried about all sorts of scenarios that might put Johnson in position to outrun their entire defense. That world-class speed might make Johnson as feared an offensive weapon as anyone in the league. And as much as I like MJD and as well-rounded as his game is, the danger factor Johnson brings with every touch makes him my choice.

Williamson: While I am a big believer in Chris Johnson and do concede that he is a nightmare to prepare for, I like Maurice Jones Drew better because I simply think that he brings more to the table. Not only can Jones-Drew catch the ball and create big plays in space, but he is far more powerful than Johnson and is a fantastic short yardage runner. Jones-Drew scores touchdowns in bunches and is the more well rounded --and proven -- player of the two.

While body blows are landed on both sides, don't expect a knockout.

Jason Soderberg mediates the debate. He might even declare a winner.