The Case for Keeping Tennessee Titans Running Back Chris Johnson

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Dec 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) carries the ball as he tries to get past New York Giants outside linebacker Jacquian Williams (57) during first half action at Qualcomm Stadium. Woodhead had 50 receiving yards and 42 yards on the ground in the Chargers win. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Fit

When Ken Whisenhunt came to town, everything changed. He intends to call his own plays, so you can expect the new Tennessee Titans offense to resemble the 2013 San Diego Chargers to some degree. If that is the case, Tennessee will need a running back that can capably play the Danny Woodhead role.

The Chargers snatched up Woodhead in free agency last year, and they used him for a very specific role. He barely broke 100 rushing attempts for 429 yards and 2 TDs.

However, he caught a whopping 76 passes on 83 targets for 605 yards and 6 TDs. Those numbers represent over 20% of Philip Rivers’ completions, 13.5% of his yards, and 18.8% of his passing TDs. That is a large proportion of the passing game tied up in a running back.

These receiving numbers were also second in the league among RBs, and Woodhead did it on a limited snap count.

Tennessee will need a running back that is capable in the passing game. This is where Johnson excels. He is most effective when given the ball in space where he can make people miss with his speed. As mentioned earlier, he had a career high in receiving TDs, and his receiving yards did not dip in 2013.

If Tennessee’s offense is to resemble the San Diego offense, Shonn Greene can play the battering ram-role that Ryan Mathews excelled at this past year, and Chris Johnson can play the Woodhead role of pass-catcher.