Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) recovers a fumble in the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks for a safety in the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Is Knowshon Moreno Viable Option For Tennessee Titans?


Rumors and speculations have been floating around for quite some time now that the Tennessee Titans may not be retaining Chris Johnson for this upcoming season and that his release is inevitable. With that comes the rumors and speculations of what the Tennessee Titans will do to replace him and there are many options they could take.

The Titans still have Shonn Greene under contract and could decide to stick it out with him and just sign depth. They could also go out and draft a running back to either learn under Greene for a year then carry the load shortly after or to draft one that can step in and perform immediately. Then there is the option of looking to free agency to fill the void left by CJ.

Assuming Chris Johnson isn’t with the Tennessee Titans next season, I have read online and across numerous sites that some fans want the Titans to pursue current Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno as potential void filler. While I can see why some would point to Moreno as the next running back savior for the Titans, I want to be the first to tell you that Moreno is not the answer for the Titans. Other options should be pursued over Moreno and signing him would be a mistake for the Titans.

Why is this? First off, look at Moreno’s stats over the last few seasons since coming out of Georgia:

2009 – Played in all 16 games, had 947 totals rushing yards and 7 touchdowns

2010 – Played in 13 games, had 779 total rushing yards and 5 touchdowns

2011 – Played in 7 games, had 179 total rushing yards and 0 touchdowns

2012 – Played in 8 games, had 525 total rushing yards and 4 touchdowns

2013 – Played in all 16 games, had 1,038 total rushing yards and 10 touchdowns

If you simply compare those stats to that of Chris Johnson, if wouldn’t make sense to ever cut Johnson and Moreno. Moreno has been much less productive than CJ and has had problems with injuries in the past. Both of these things are obvious downgrades from Johnson.

Moreno hasn’t really lived up to the hype he had coming out of college. A former first round draft pick, Moreno struggled to find his feet in the NFL and after a promising rookie campaign really declined until this past season. With the emergence of Montee Ball in Denver, expect Moreno’s days to be done as well. So why would the Titans release a player like Johnson to pick up someone like Moreno? It simply doesn’t make sense. While Moreno had a successful season it doesn’t merit 1) Picking him up over another potential option 2) Giving him money that may not turn into results and 3) Dropping Johnson over him would be foolish.

Keep in mind this simple stat: Chris Johnson even in this so called “down season” rushed for 1,077 totals yards. That is STILL more than what Moreno rushed for.

With all this in mind, Titans fans need to put to rest any idea that Moreno would be a good fit or replacement at running back over Chris Johnson.

Disagree with me on Moreno or think CJ deserves to be back? Let me know in the comment, on Facebook, or via Twitter at @Titan_Sized or my personal account @NPitak.

(All statistics for Moreno and Johnson provided via ESPN).

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  • Matt Ward

    I agree that Moreno is not on the same level with Chris Johnson. Where I disagree is that I don’t think the Titans should be looking for a high-priced savior like Johnson at RB. His cost is far too high for his production in my opinion. Cutting Chris Johnson and his $10,000,000 annual cap hit would free up a lot of cap space for the Titans, and they could get similar production out of a committee approach for a fraction of the cost. Moreno is one of many RBs that I think could step in at a more reasonable salary and be effective as part of a running back committee.

    • Nick Pitakos

      Don’t disagree in the slightest that Johnson should be cut. Too expensive for what he brings to the table. But are you saying you would want the Titans to pursue Moreno if he came at a reasonable price over a younger back?

      • Matt Ward

        I’m definitely not saying they should pursue Moreno instead of a younger back – but they would be wise to keep their options open and take whatever value falls to them whether it be in the draft or free agency. If I were the GM, we would make every effort to get a veteran back in free agency and a rookie back in the middle rounds of the draft to groom.

        Assuming Johnson is gone, they need a back that can be effective in pass protection as well as the passing game. There are no guarantees that a rookie could do either at the NFL level in his first year. There are several options available, but I think Moreno could meet the criteria if the price is right.

        Moreno graded out as a better blocker than CJ in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus, and he had 60 receptions. I could see Moreno playing the Danny Woodhead role from Whisenhunt’s system. Woodhead was primarily a role player for the Chargers this year, but he accounted for 76 receptions and 6 TDs. That is over 20% of Phillip Rivers’ completions and almost 19% of his TDs. Shonn Greene is not known for catching passes, and his career best is 30 receptions in one season (2011).

        I’m not saying Moreno has to be the guy, or even needs to be the guy… but I am saying that the Titans need to make sure they have a back that they can count on in the passing game at the NFL level. If you were Titans GM for the day and you cut CJ, who is the first RB you are calling?

        • Nick Pitakos

          Me personally….I don’t necessarily know if I would be looking to free agency. The running back selections this offseason are slim and none that are really intriguing to me. Even the ones that are I don’t see coming cheap to the Titans. I personally say we use Greene for a season, draft a mid round back as you stated, and groom him from there. That would be my choice as GM if I had one.

          • Matt Ward

            I could get behind this… The only problem would be if Shonn Greene missed time. Do you think they could roll the dice on Ryan Williams as a “break glass in case of emergency” RB3 if the Cardinals cut him? He was one of Whiz’s draft picks a few years ago.

          • Nick Pitakos

            Interesting…I never thought about pursuing Ryan Williams. That actually could be a feasable move by Whiz if he felt the need to add more depth, which will be needed regardless. So let’s say the Titans stick with Greene, draft a mid round RB, if you need depth (which you do) is Williams a good option? I don’t see why not. Interesting view on that.

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