When the Tennessee Titans signed Shonn Greene to a three-year, $10 million contract, they did not intend for him to just be a third down back. The Titans intended to combine Greene’s power running game with Chris Johnson‘s gazelle-like speed in efforts to exhaust opposing defenses by the second half.
Although Greene has already said that backfield belongs to Johnson at the end of the day, its the front office and coach, not Johnson who makes the final decision.
Johnson has been noticeably silent since the Titans added Greene to the backfield because it is now a forgone conclusion with the pair sharing the running load, his hopes of breaking Eric Dickerson‘s rushing record is likely gone.
The reality that Johnson has yet to accept is that due to his diminutive size, he is unable to withstand the pounding required to break the record without risking serious injury. Although frequently cutting his runs outside the tackles has earned Johnson his fair share of highlights, his inability to consistently run between the tackles has often resulted in minimal gains and losses of yards.
Johnson will always be included in the discussion of elite running backs, but his quest to be the dominant back of this era will fall short. As soon as Johnson is able to embrace the team concept and no longer concern himself with individual awards, the Titans will be better off because sometimes, a one yard gain is all that is needed to secure a win.
Titans General Manager Ruston Webster did not release Johnson this off season because he was the only playmaker they had. However, if Johnson continues to put ‘I’ before the team, this season may be his last in the Music City.