Earlier this week Tennessee Titans Pro-Bowl running back Chris Johnson appeared on the NFL Network and told anyone who would listen that next season he intends to break Eric Dickerson‘s All-time rushing record. Blessed with gazelle like speed as well as the ability to cut on a dime Johnson is dynamic game changer who can alter the forecast of any game in one rushing attempt.
Despite Johnson’s cat-like quickness his success like every other running back, even All-Pro Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, is dictated by the push of the offensive line.
Last season Johnson ran for 1,243 yards and six touchdowns but was often seen on the sidelines, and after games, to be visibly frustrated because he truly expected more. Although his rushing numbers are nothing to sneeze at one can presume that Peterson’s MVP season also added fuel to Johnson’s fire to not be left out of the discussion of elite running backs. In his effort to succeed where Peterson had fallen nine yards short Johnson began his campaign for offensive upgrades on national television.
It is no coincidence that Johnson was on NFL Network a day after the NFL Combine, making his intentions to break the NFL rushing record next season known. Since the chances of Johnson breaking the rushing record are slim to none behind his current offensive line, his plea to Titans general manager Ruston Webster was loud and clear, “I need help.”
Due to their limited cap space of $19.4 million the front office would be unable to address their other needs and also lure one of the top free agent offensive linemen, the Denver Broncos Ryan Clady or the Miami Dolphins Jake Long to the Music City. Webster’s first free agent acquisition was on the defensive side of the ball, and his next mission is to upgrade the offensive line by any means necessary.
Although drafting an offensive lineman has never been considered a glamorous pick, in order to justify giving $10 million to Johnson, pretty ugly may be the best alternative.