Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde (34) runs with the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the second half of the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
As most faithful Tennessee Titans fans probably know, our six year veteran Chris Johnson was cut a few days ago and the Titans are now looking to find another running back to take his place. Shonn Greene, Jackie Battle, and a situational Dexter McCluster are the backs remaining on the roster. It’s no secret the Titans will be looking to the draft to find another running back, but the question is which way they should lean and what style they should go after.
Several months ago I mentioned the possibility (and my own personal preference) on their selection of running back being Carlos Hyde (info here) out of Ohio State. Hyde is an interesting running back who can bring a lot of versatility to the backfield for multiple reasons. If I had to pick today Hyde would still be my selection in the second round. However, is he what the Titans need?
Once again, after searching through internet chat rooms I have been seeing that many fans want to see and wish that the Titans will address their need at running back with another back that is very similar to CJ. Seeing this intrigued me and sparked my interest as to what would work for the Titans heading into the 2014 season.
More than anything else the question that sticks with me on running backs like Chris Johnson is their “boom or bust” style of play. Sure, you can argue CJ as a 1,000 yard back, but when those yards don’t count for anything or don’t come when they are needed the most, do they really matter? Remember all of those third and ones he could never pick up? I sure do.
CJ was always intriguing as a back because he brought the possibility of a breakout run every time he touched the ball, but in today’s league you can’t solely rely on that out of your top running back. Transitions to hybrid backs and a “sharing is caring” mentality are what define offensive productivity when running the ball in today’s game. CJ had the possibility to boom it, but more often than not he “busted” it. He was unreliable in short yardage situations and he showed the inability to pick up those tough yards when we really needed them.
With this in mind, does it really make sense to draft another back that fits the same play style as CJ?
I am strongly leaning (and set) on the no side of this argument. We had a CJ and we don’t need another one (especially with the addition of McCluster). What we need now is one back that solidifies our group that we currently have. A hybrid back that can come in and take a ball outside and the very next play take it between the tackles, drop his shoulders, and pick up those yards on third down when we desperately need them.
Obviously, this is a hybrid type of running back, which is why I like Carlos Hyde so much, but I would be happy with any back that could fit this bill. With the right pick of running back in the draft the Tennessee Titans could have a decent backfield next year that can bring a lot of different looks to opposing defenses.
I am interested as to what Titans faithful think. Am I off my rocker? This guy doesn’t want another CJ, what is wrong with this guy? Tell me what you think in the comments below, on Facebook, or via Twitter @Titan_Sized or my personal account @NPitak.