Can Chris Johnson Rush His Way Into Canton?
Nov.11, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Tennessee won 37-3. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans three-time Pro Bowler Chris Johnson has been one of the best running backs since he entered the league in 2008. He is arguably the NFL’s most dangerous back because he possesses one trait that nobody else has: 4.24 speed.
Time and time again, Johnson has shown how dangerous he is. He can do what most backs cannot: take it to the house on any given carry on any part of the field at any time. He simply cannot be caught in the open field once he turns on his second gear. Since 2008, Johnson has the most games with over 100-plus rushing yards (33). Guess who’s right behind him: Adrian Peterson with (30).
Johnson has been in the league for five seasons and has already shattered the record books with runs of 80-plus yards (6), double the amount of any back in NFL history. Let’s remember he still has four or five years left in the tank.
With that said, when his career ends, I expect him to hit double digits when it comes to touchdown runs of 80-plus yards. He joined an elite group of only seven players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. But more importantly, his 2,006-yard campaign in 2009 also included 503 receiving yards and a total of 16 touchdowns, breaking the previous record of 2,429 yards set in 1999 by Marshall Faulk.
After five seasons, Johnson has managed to rush for 6,888 yards and 44 touchdowns with a career average of 1,377 yards per season and 4.7 yards per carry. Johnson has totaled more rushing yards than Barry Sanders through his first five seasons. That’s truly something to admire. CJ2K has proved himself as an elite rusher and he’s only at the halfway point of his career.
There is something very important that Johnson needs to help his chances of giving a Hall of Fame speech: a Super Bowl ring and more playoff appearances. Johnson has only managed one playoff appearance. He lasted the first half before getting injured. Johnson has been playing for a Titans organization that has not performed well. It doesn’t help that he’s never had a franchise quarterback.
With probably five seasons left to play, Johnson will have to rush his way into Canton just like the great Barry Sanders has. There are seven players in NFL history to join the 13,000 career rushing yards club including Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Curtis Martin, LaDanian Tomlinson, Jerome Bettis and Eric Dickerson.
Johnson must rush for 6,112 yards in his next 5 seasons to join this list of NFL greats. That’s an average of 1,223 yards per season. With Johnson’s running style and ability to stay healthy, I don’t see this as an impossible goal, especially with a young and talented offensive line.
Will Johnson reach 13,000 career rushing yards? Would that be enough to make him a Hall of Famer? I believe so. Football is a team sport. Of course, you don’t want to throw your offensive line or coordinators under the bus, but what he has accomplished thus far with the cards he has been dealt is incredible.
What’s your opinion?
All statistics were sourced from Espn.com and Profootballfocus.com