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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Looking at CJ's cost as coach touts Greene

By Paul Kuharsky

Earlier Tuesday I wrote about how Shonn Greene's presence on the Titans roster is going to end any chance Chris Johnson has of running for 2,000 yards, though I still expect CJ to tout his annual goal.

Greene
Since then, came this column from Alex Marvex of FOX Sports.

In it, coach Mike Munchak speaks so highly of Greene -- comparing him to Eddie George -- I came away wondering why exactly the Titans didn't run away from Johnson when they had a chance in February. Within five days after the Super Bowl, they could have cut him and avoided guaranteeing $9 million of his $10 million base salary this season.

“I know as a [former] line coach myself that we haven’t had a guy like that in a while,” Munchak said of Greene at the NFL owners meeting. “He reminds me of the Eddie George days -- a guy that can fall forward, a guy that’s physical, a guy that can understand his role.

“We’re not going to have him as a short-yardage back, a goal-line back and four-minute back and that’s all he does. We feel he can play all three downs. He may get a series where he gets going and we’re taking over the line of scrimmage and you want that runner in there and we leave him in there ...

“We feel that, especially with a young quarterback, we have to start moving the chains better and getting time of possession better. It’s hard to do when you just have a speed back. We thought the complement would be a huge plus for us.”

When I spoke to Greene on the radio he talked about his niche and understanding his place and his knack for a short-yardage, goal-line niche.

But when the Titans introduced their first four additions last week, Munchak said Greene wasn't simply a short-yardage back, that he was an every-down back. It sounded like lip service. Maybe I missed the message. Marvez got a louder and more clear version.

I don't think Shonn Greene is the second coming of George, a great back who had big-play limitations. Johnson's all-or-nothing style has taken the Titans too far the other direction, however, and it's much more often nothing.

The trouble is, his pay is a long way from nothing.

When he was looking for a new deal in 2011, I was among the masses who said the team had to step up with one.

Since then he's been far too inconsistent. If the Titans see a scenario where they will steer toward Greene in some games, what are they doing paying Johnson $10 million this year? Couldn't they find the speedy half of a complementary duo in the draft for a fraction of the price?