Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) runs the ball while trying to avoid a tackle by Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (55) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans and the Shonn Greene Experiment

Dec 9, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) on a 14-yard run in the third quarter of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. The New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

A few months ago, the Tennessee Titans picked up running back Shonn Greene from free agency. From this rose a lot of chatter on what the move signified for this team and its upcoming run game. How will Greene be used in the Titans running attack this year?

A question really no one has the answer to just yet. But some can point to things from the past and general terms of dual-back usage across the NFL.

First, the Titans have insisted that Chris Johnson is the No. 1 back. If that’s the case, then why was so much money put into Greene to only be used as a short-yardage back? Even more intriguing was that head coach Mike Munchak has insisted numerous times that Greene will be more than a short-yardage back.

Most people had originally assumed that Greene would take a role similar to that of LenDale White when Chris Johnson first arrived in Tennessee. Greene, much like White, would come in to pick up short yardage and bring in more of a power-running style. The old “Smash and Dash” combo as many people used to put it.

This is noticeable on other teams across the NFL. For example, the Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were another combination of speed and power that emerged a few years ago and had some success. But if Munchak insists this isn’t true, then what exactly will Greene do?

Another possibility is that Greene and Johnson could alternate series whenever the staff feels a “change of pace” is needed for the running game. Greene could be brought in for a series to give the opposing team a different running style to focus on besides just Johnson’s.

That brings the last few questions to this team then. Is Chris Johnson as important as his contract indicates? Does this take away from the amount of snaps that Johnson will see throughout the season?

These are questions most Titans fans are waiting to see the answer to and leaves a lot of explanation for. The Titans dropped $10 million over three seasons on Greene so they’ll have to justify spending that much on a back that they may not utilize as much as they say they are going to.

Even more interesting will be to see how Johnson responds to possibly not being the No. 1 ball-carrier anymore and how happy he will be going back to sharing snaps with another back. Needless to say, in Tennessee, keeping an eye on the happenings in the backfield and the run game will be a focal point this season.

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Tags: Chris Johnson NFL NFL Offense Shonn Greene Tennessee Titans

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