Tennessee Titans Better At RB For Cutting Chris Johnson

By Will Lomas
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans have released Chris Johnson, and I believe they will be much better off for it. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean is an outstanding writer who does a great job covering the Tennessee Titans, and he is someone that I encourage everyone to read and follow, but I disagree with him on this matter.


He went on to say that there is no comparison between the players, and I couldn’t agree more: Shonn Greene is the much better value right now.

Basing their performance purely off of last year (this is the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL after all) Johnson did amass almost almost 800 more rushing yards than Greene. However, that is in large part because Johnson got over 200 more snaps than Greene in 2013. Despite that, Johnson only out gained Greene’s YPC average by 0.1 yards.

Additionally, Johnson only had two more touchdowns than Greene despite the staggering attempt difference.  To put that in perspective, Johnson averaged a touchdown once every 47 touches, whereas Greene got in the end zone once every 19 touches. So essentially Greene was nearly three times more productive than Johnson.

Now many defenders of Johnson may say that he will be brought in to manufacture big plays, but that argument really holds no weight if you watched him last year. Johnson’s biggest running play was a disappointing 30-yard scamper against the Indianapolis Colts late in the season. Compare than to Greene’s long of 29, and there really isn’t that big of a difference, right? Certainly not a difference that warrants a $7 million cap difference.

Big plays, elite vision, top-end speed, cutback ability, solid hands and elusiveness are all traits that Johnson had three years ago. However, those abilities have diminished (if not outright disappeared) in that short period of time. Paying a running back $10 million per year to provide what Johnson provided for Tennessee is a mistake that the Mike Munchak/Bud Adams Titans might have put up with, but Ken Whisenhunt, Tommie Smith and Ruston Webster made the right (and obvious) move to get away from Johnson.

He will be a stable running back who can get about one yard less than what is blocked for him, and he will stay healthy and limit turnovers, but that is about it. Expecting him to be a starting running back is foolish at this point in his career unless he can somehow finds a way to get back the magic (and hustle) he had in 2009.

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