Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Oct 2011

Inside Chris Johnson's Struggles vs. Houston

Over at Total Titans, our own Tom Gower takes a look at each of Chris Johnson's carries individually to try to figure out where to place the blame for the Titans' stagnant running game. The conclusion: Chris Johnson's poor performance on Sunday was largely attributable solely to Chris Johnson.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Oct 2011

12 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2011, 5:28am by erniecohen


by alexbond :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 1:58pm

I didn't see the game but the description sounds a lot like what it was like to watch Shaun Alexander towards the end of his career, for what it's worth.

by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 2:18pm

One might note that Alexander had more than three good years before hitting a wall. Johnson would still be on his rookie contract if not for his holdout. At this point, I think 2009 was a massive fluke and CJ will top out as a serviceable RB at best.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 2:36pm

♫Another Su~nday night, and I put forth no effort.
I got some money 'cause I just got paid.
Oh, now I'm glad my for my guaranteed contract.
I'm paid for awful play.♫

by Kal :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 3:12pm

I guess we're all starting to understand why he didn't want to show up to camp before getting paid. If he's that bad, it would have shown up in camp as well. And boy, does that sound bad. Just no aggression.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 3:45pm

Is it possible he is/was hurt or whatever and held out because he knew it would show during the season?

Is it also possible he is just still PO about the whole thing and isn't really trying 100% in games/staying in shape?

It seems implausible to me he just decided to shut it down after his first big contract, usually people who make it to this level are a little more megalomaniacal than that.

by J.R Wilco (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 4:41pm

Possible he's hurt/whatever, and held out because of it? Yes.
Probable? It's seeming more so with every passing game.

by erniecohen :: Fri, 10/28/2011 - 5:28am

I hypothesized this in a post during his holdout, after the Titans announced that they were going to make him the highest paid RB in the league if he just showed up. On the other hand, it couldn't be anything blatant enough that they would catch it in a physical, so we'll probably never know. (Of course he may come out and say that he tweaked something in practice or the first game.)

I have no sympathy for TEN, who really dug their own grave on this one. Of course the same fans that screamed at the team to "pay the man" are now asking for him to be benched. I hope everybody remembers this year and what happened to CJ and LF the next time some team considers handing out such a moronic contract.

by Zheng :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 4:01pm

It sounds from the description that he's hurt. I can't think of any other reason why he'd almost never shoot a gap and just take a dive instead, flinching from contact as he does so. I'd guess he has some kind of injury that's preventing him from running full speed and cutting effectively. Groin pull? Turf toe?

Or maybe I just don't want to believe that the only thing motivating CJ500 over the past few seasons was cash.

The article would have been better if it included screen shots of each play at the point where CJ500 gave up. Maybe not an option, but still.

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 6:05pm

Another site, another post: fleshing out the Chris/Larry Johnson parallel I first drew in FOA2010.

by Misfit74 :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 8:43pm

I find it strange that a nearly two-year disparity in age wasn't mentioned in that article. Chris Johnson is almost two years younger in the year comparisons. Larry Johnson's decline coincided with a 416-carry year the season before and turning age 28.

by langsty :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 8:04pm

great stuff, tom. gonna link this to all my bros

by Sunil (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 11:10pm

Ugh - disgusting performance by CJ. This was evident towards the end of last year when he became tentative with his runs. As a Titans homer I was hoping they would trade him or not give him big money. I coulda screamed when I saw the news of highest-paid running back.

Guess he was the only true "star" for ticket sales at the time. I wish Titans had never released Blount. {/end miserable vent}