Blog Entry

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 10:15 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, during player-organized informal workouts, Titans running back Chris Johnson was under the impression rookie QB Jake Locker would head into 2011 as the team's starter.

"Everybody knows [Jake's] going to be the starting quarterback so he needs to be ready come Game 1," Johnson told the media at the time. "So he's just trying to get ready."

Actually, general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said Tennessee will bring in a veteran QB and won't rush Locker onto the field. A sensible strategy, certainly, but even if Locker begins the season under center, there's reason to think he'll be able to handle the gig. Primarily because the offense won't go through him, but much like a situation Christian Ponder could face in Minnesota, the offense will begin with the running back. In the Titans' case, that's Chris Johnson, one of the league's most dynamic players.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Chris Palmer doesn't expect Johnson to slow down anytime soon, although Palmer says he'll monitor the running back's workload.

“Again, it’s something we’ll have to look at,” Palmer told the Tennessean last week. “The good thing is (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak has been with him for a while and knows him pretty good."

But Johnson, who had 316 carries (for 1,364 rushing yards) last season and 358 more (for 2,006 rushing yards) in 2009, thinks the Titans offense needs him more now than ever. “I feel like [Locker] can come in and do some good things, but I think at the start I am going to have to take some pressure off of him,” Johnson said Saturday at his third annual football camp for kids at Battle Ground Academy, according to the Tennessean.

“In order for him [Locker] to be more successful, we’re going to have to get the running game going and not have to rely on him so much, and I know that starts with me," Johnson continued. "I feel like I always put pressure on myself, so I’ll take it.”

History sides with Palmer in that coaches need to keep close tabs on their running backs' workload. In 2005, Larry Johnson racked up 336 carries for 1,750 yards for the Chiefs, and his carries increased to 416 carries (for 1,789 yards) in 2006. Johnson, who was only 27 when the 2007 season began, was never the same after that. He started just 27 games from '07 to '09, and was out of the league by 2010.

(If you're a Titans fan, and depending on how much stock you put into the Curse of 370, this is about the point where you start to worry.)

Chris Johnson has shown no signs of slowing down, but NFL running backs typically don't see their abilities diminish gradually; more often than not, their skills fall off the cliff.

For now, though, Johnson will be integral to any success Tennessee's offense has next season. Just don't expect him to report to training camp before he has a new contract.

You know who else would be a big help to whoever ends up the Titans' starting QB? Kenny Britt. He just needs to stop getting arrested.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 9:40 am

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:39 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:08 am
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:21 pm
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Since: May 22, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:45 pm

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

I think jake locker IS in perfect position to start with most teams concentrating on chris johnson Jake should be fine.

Since: May 4, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:51 pm

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

And I always thought NFL QBs liked to be on top.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: June 20, 2011 12:14 pm

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Airfarce1 is the master of rehashing the tired cliche. It when he tries to think that he really gets into trouble. While all he is doing here is stating the obvious, I have to admit it is far better than when he tries to add anything other than what the article itself states.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: June 20, 2011 11:01 am

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Having a monster RB always takes pressure off of the QB! Either way this is a good situation for Locker. Sitting a few games or a year will only help him get used to the complexity and speed of the NFL. And If they decide to start him he wont have all the pressure on him unless the defense gives up big points early and there forced to throw the ball 80% of the time and johnson isn't a huge factor. Either way they should end the lockout so we can get this season goin.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:12 am

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Why wouldn't you start him either right away or soon into the season?  Sanchez, Ryan, Flacco, Bradford all started right away from recent memory.  I don't remember if Josh Freeman did as well, but several others started from some point in their rookie years: Eli, Cutler, Ben all come to mind.  The majority that start quickly seem to do pretty well from recent results.

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