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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Smith: Titans need to use CJ better

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We posted earlier about Tommy Smith's conversation with Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Mike Munchak's future is and should be the top subject of that conversation.

Johnson
Interesting too, was what Smith had to say about Chris Johnson, the running back who’s averaging 3.8 yards a carry this season and is slated for an $8 million salary in 2014.

“I think they need to figure out how to use him and his skill set better, but he has been a good teammate and a good player,” Smith said.

They, of course, is Munchak and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.

Munchak’s coached Johnson for 45 games. If he hasn't figured out how to use him yet, I am not sure I can find a reason to expect he will figure out a way.

More likely, Munchak will sacrifice Johnson at the meeting with Smith after the season.

"When we sit down with Mike at the end of the season I expect Mike to come in and tell me why he thinks we’re in the position we are, what he thinks needs to be done for us to improve,” Smith said.

I think Munchak will say one of the reasons things haven't worked is that Johnson isn't the right back for what they want to do and what they are trying to do.

The running back's big contract came from Mike Reinfeldt, the former general manager and then team vice president who was fired by Smith's father-in-law, the late Bud Adams, after the 2011 season.

Munchak can point to that contract as the reason he's had Johnson on the team the last two years. The coach can try to sell Smith on how things can be better with Shonn Greene and a cheap, mid-round draft pick instead of with the run game centered around a home-run hitter who no longer hits home runs.

He'll have a point. But odds are good he'll also have another losing record. He'll have achieved that with a pricey running back Smith seems to like, and that will make a bigger statement.