Chris Johnson's mentality issue

By trying to turn every run into a long gain, Titans RB missing chance for big season

Originally Published: October 21, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

There is an old inspirational saying that says one should always reach for the stars; even if you don't attain your goal, you can always land on the moon.

That might have been what Chris Johnson was thinking when he set a goal of reaching 2,500 rushing yards this season. He probably figured that since he was coming off a 2,006-yard campaign, setting his sights on a repeat of that performance wasn't enough. He needed to aim even higher so that falling short could still mean becoming the only running back in NFL history to post multiple seasons with 2,000 or more rushing yards.

The problem for Johnson is that this mindset hasn't worked thus far -- or, at least, it hasn't worked to the level he was hoping for. After six games, Johnson is on pace to gain 1,589 yards. That would be a fantastic total for almost any other running back, but it is more than 900 yards short of his stated goal and over 400 yards behind his 2009 pace.

So what is the issue keeping CJ2K from replicating and/or topping last year? After looking at game tape and metrics, it seems the answer could be surprisingly simple.