Chris Johnson: Why sign Greene?
Maybe Grass Isn't Greener
Tennessee coach Mike Munchak suggested recently that Chris Johnson will have his short-yardage carries reduced. Maybe Shonn Greene isn't the solution. Only one running back in the NFL (min. 100 carries) had a lower average on yards after contact than both Titans runners in 2012.
|Source: STATS LLC|
The running back told The (Nashville) Tennessean that he was unsure why the Titans signed Shonn Greene in free agency. Johnson said Greene's three-year, $10 million contract indicates he was signed to do more than just be used in short-yardage situations.
"I have never been a big fan of the two-back system, so I don't know how we plan on using him," Johnson told the newspaper. "I'm not afraid of competition, but I was thinking we'd maybe get a draft pick for the other back. And you don't give a guy that kind of money to be just a goal-line guy and in tough-yardage situations. So we'll see what happens."
Johnson has stated that his goal for the upcoming season is to once again break the 2,000-yard barrier and make a run at Eric Dickerson's rushing record. That will be difficult if Greene takes away some of his carries.
He said he'll "just roll with it" and that he's OK if it means he doesn't have to carry the ball 30 to 40 times per game. But Johnson made it clear that he believes he's still the No. 1 back.
"And I don't mind a guy getting a carry or two. But if I am the main guy and it is supposed to be my team ... it shouldn't be an issue," he told the newspaper.
At the league's owners meetings this week, however, coach Mike Munchak said he expected Greene to get plenty of work.
"We feel he can play all three downs," Munchak said. "He may get a series where he gets going, we're taking over the line of scrimmage, we want that type of runner in there, and we'll leave him in there. He gives us some more options."
When he was introduced by the Titans last week, Greene, who played the first four seasons of his career with the New York Jets, said he knows this is Johnson's backfield.
"He's a phenomenal player," Greene said. "He's very explosive, very talented. He can take off whenever. Just with our different styles, we can keep defenses on their toes. You have to prepare with him with his speed and getting to the outside and then coming with me and the power and the downhill stuff. I think it just gives defenses a lot to worry about."
Johnson shared carries with LenDale White during his rookie season in 2008 but has been the main running back since that season. No other Titans player has had more than 64 carries in a season since.
"At the end of the day, I think there's a chance it could turn into some controversy, but that is nothing to worry about right now. I am hoping for the best," Johnson told the newspaper.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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