On Chris Johnson and the sideline

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
2:38
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was one play, so I don’t want to over read it.

But I do think it provides something to keep an eye on going forward.

Chris Johnson’s been coached to get north-south more quickly rather than seeking the sideline as frequently as he has in the past.

[+] EnlargeChris Johnson
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTitans running back Chris Johnson runs up against the Texans' defense in their Week 2 game.
We saw how well it worked for him in the preseason opener, when he cut right up the middle of the field and went for a 58-yard touchdown that left a rookie Washington safety looking foolish.

On the Titans’ first play from scrimmage in Houston, Johnson ran for 16 yards, thanks to nice blocks from fullback Collin Mooney and left guard Andy Levitre to his left, and right guard Chance Warmack on his right.

But as CJ broke into the secondary running between the hash marks and the numbers on the left side, he had Kenny Britt ahead of him blocking cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

As I look at the play, I think if Johnson went to the sideline, he might have wound up in a foot race to the end zone with safety Shiloh Keo coming from closer to the middle of the field -- which would have been no contest.

Instead, Johnson looked to get north-south and the one guy with a chance to stop him, Keo, did, with a good low tackle.

It was not a bad run by any means. It might have been better had Johnson decided to go to the sideline.

My intention isn’t to pick him apart for his decision here. It’s merely to say going forward I’ll be watching if his determination to go toward the end zone might keep him from the sideline in some situations where heading there would still be beneficial.

“I'm not out there trying to look for the big runs,” he said, speaking generally. “I'm going to just let it come to me.”

That’s good.

“We don’t want to take his vision away from him,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “I thought he did a good job seeing some of the runs and putting his foot in the ground and getting north and south.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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