Titans faithful should be encouraged by what Chris Johnson had to say on Tuesday.
Over the last couple years, he’s increasing been regarded as a me-first player, more concerned with his yards than team success. Annually he made predictions about how he’d run for 2,000 yards again, or even 2,500. While his blocking has certainly been an issue over the last few years, he’s infrequently raised his hand and said “my bad” though he clearly hasn’t run with the same desire since he got a new contract before the 2011 season.
But, per David Climer of The Tennessean, Johnson’s tone was different when he had a recent session with the press.
He declined to make any predictions about yardage totals. He deflected questions about individual goals. He even seemed to embrace the arrival of veteran running back Shonn Greene as a short-yardage back.
In short, he wasn’t himself — or at least not the Chris Johnson we expect to hear during the offseason.
And that’s encouraging.
While the Titans intend to be a run-first, run-heavy team, they brought in Greene. He’s going to take carries away from Johnson, and that’s going to make CJ's dream of a second 2,000-yard season completely impractical.
The offense intends to get Johnson involved in the passing game. That sounds great. But he often appeared disinterested in catching passes last year, when they fell to the ground a lot when they came in his direction.
If he dedicates himself to being better in that area, if he realizes a pairing with Greene can be healthy for both him and the team, it could be a big year for CJ.
Just with a different definition of big.