The Case for Keeping Tennessee Titans Running Back Chris Johnson

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Nov 14, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) breaks the tackle attempt by Indianapolis Colts strong safety LaRon Landry (30) and rushes for a touchdown during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports


Chris Johnson has been a key cog in the Titans offense ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft. He has run for at least 1,000 yards in every season of his NFL career, and he has added additional yardage by being a competent receiver out of the backfield. His career highs are 57 receptions (2011), 503 receiving yards (2009) and 4 receiving TDs (2013).

It seems that his demise has been blown out of proportion to some degree. There is no doubt that he is not getting the same kind of yardage that came in his magical 2,000 yard season. But, no running back has ever been able to reproduce that feat.

Taking out that special season, Johnson’s low has been 1,047 yards in 2011, and his high is 1,364 in 2009. These are respectable numbers. His 2013 total of 1,077 is on the low end of that spectrum, but not a career low by any means.

His 3.9 YPC in 2013 is most bothersome to analysts. Again, taking away the special 2009 season, if you look at his YPC by season, he has ranged from a low of 4.0 in 2011 to a high of 4.9 in his rookie season. While you don’t want to see a running back hit a low mark at 28 years old, Johnson is far from finished in the NFL. It’s worth noting that he bounced back from 4.0 YPC in 2011 to 4.5 YPC in 2012.

It is intriguing that he had his third-highest total of receiving yards this year with 345, and a new career high in receiving TDs with four. While four receiving TDs may not sound monumental, take note that it was the third-highest total among NFL running backs in 2013.