Tag:Chris Johnson
Posted on: August 17, 2010 11:54 am

AFC South Preview, Podcast Style

Posted by Will Brinson

It's podcast time once again, people -- with only a few weeks remaining until real football starts, we cruise down (?) to the AFC South to talk preview.

And today we welcome on the always fantastic Steph Stradley of FanHouse and Houston Chronicle fame to talk about what might arguably* be the toughest division in the NFL.

The first thing we want to know: Is it the Texans year? (Second thing: Can we talk about the Texans and Matt Schaub's "power alleys" enough to jinx them?) Also, are the Colts even worth talking about beyond Peyton Manning? Can Chris Johnson hit 2,500 yards with the Titans? And will the Jaguars ever find a true identity?

That's, right: all that and more, all for the low, low price of clicking a play button. Got a question you want answered on the show? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL ) or email will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .

Oh, and also, be a friend and subscribe either by RSS or iTunes below.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Or, make it easy on yourself and  Subscribe via iTunes .

*This is a reasonable argument for any division except the AFC or NFC West.
Posted on: August 15, 2010 8:16 am

Hochuli apologizes for blown call

Posted by Andy Benoit

Many people don’t remember that Chris Johnson could have set the single-season rushing record last season. Johnson had a shot at Eric Dickerson’s 2,105-yard mark, but a 62-yard touchdown run in the final game against Seattle was wiped out by a holding call against fullback Ahmard Hall. Without that run, Johnson fell out of contention for the record.

Now, Hall tells Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that the referee who made the call, Ed Hochuli, later apologized to him.

"It is big of him," Hall said. "Some guys won't admit they're wrong regardless if they're dead wrong. So that is a big deal, with the record that could've been and him being a prestigious referee, to admit that he was wrong.

"I got over it, but I admit it hurt me for a while. You are getting replayed on ESPN as the guy who had the phantom holding call. But for Ed to apologize personally, that definitely added closure to the situation."

Hall is one of the better, more prideful lead-blockers in the NFL. And, fortunately, in that game, his running back still surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the season.

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 2:44 pm

Will Chris Johnson run out of gas?

Lost amidst all the Chris Johnson contract talk this offseason is whether the diminutive third-year running back can be in top form after registering a league-high 408 touches in 2009. ESPN the Magazine recently pointed out that 41 running backs in NFL history have had over 400 touches in a season. On average, those running backs have endured 99 fewer touches the following season. C. Johnson (US Presswire)

Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger isn’t concerned. Asked by The Tennessean if he’d like to lighten Johnson’s load, Heimerdinger said, "I don't know. I don't have that in my mind, really. The ball doesn't weigh that much … You always go into the season hoping to be real balanced (between the run and the pass) and not real heavy run. You'd like to be 50-50, but I think the games and what happens in the game will determine how many times he'll carry. So I don't have that answer right off the bat. When you hand it to a guy and he's averaging six yards a carry, it's easier to give it to him again."

If the Titans find more rest for Johnson, they’ll likely have to turn to other undersized scat backs. Last year’s fifth-round pick, Javon Ringer, is 5’9”, 205. So is Alvin Pearman. The absence of a true power runner could bode well for undrafted rookie LeGarrette Blount, the 241-pound bruiser from Oregon who is trying to climb from fourth string to second or third.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 22, 2010 2:46 pm

Report: Chris Johnson officially signs new deal

As reported earlier this week , Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans have agreed on terms of a new contract -- one that would move some of Johnson's final year escalators up and get him paid now (just in time for training camp).

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is now reporting that Johnson has in fact officially received his pay raise .
A league source tells [PFT] that Johnson signed the deal on Thursday ... The contract will pay Johnson more money this season by accelerating some escalators that he had unlocked for future seasons. The terms -- insofar as I can tell -- have not been officially announced; presuming Florio's source is correct (that's a safe presumption, it just needs to be said), there should be some announcement from the Titans shortly.

Check back here and follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter for updates -- expectations seem to be that the figure will be in the $2.5 million range (up from the $550,000 Johnson stood to originally make in 2010).

-- Will Brinson

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: July 21, 2010 4:51 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 4:56 pm

DeSean Jackson shouldn't expect a revised deal

DeSean Jackson and Chris Johnson are in pretty similar situations: both were drafted in 2008, both were Pro Bowlers last year, both have similar skill sets, and both are grossly underpaid (relative to other professional football players anyway).

However, Jackson, unlike Johnson -- who is in the process of getting a "new" deal from the Tennessee Titans -- is unlikely to see any sort of increase in pay for the coming season, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer .

Jeff Lane cites a "league source familiar with the way the Eagles negotiate contracts" who believes its in Jackson's "best interests" to play another year before asking for more money.

Jackson hasn't threatened to hold out or skip training camp (although he did miss some workouts in June without providing a reason) and when I spoke with him at the Super Bowl in February , he made it clear that he wasn't "gonna make it a distraction."

The bad news for DeSean, financially speaking, is that he a) didn't receive a signing bonus because of his second round status and b) won't be getting paid if a new labor agreement isn't reached by 2011.

The good news, on the other hand, is that if he shows up for training camp, works as hard as he has thus far, makes the Pro Bowl at two positions again and helps the Eagles finish above the Redskins and former quarterback Donovan McNabb (that's a casual season, right?), Philadelphia will have to pay him, and pay him well.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 20, 2010 7:00 pm

Woodley is unhappy

If Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley sounds disappointed that the Steelers chose not to adjust his contract, meaning he’ll make $550,000 in the final year of his original four-year deal – $90,000 more than he made last season – it’s because he is disappointed. Or pissed. Whichever you prefer.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silve r, Woodley said he found it strange that, despite recording 29 sacks in the first three years of his career, the Steelers didn’t off him a raise.

“It’s kind of jacked up,” Woodley told Silver. “Everything I’ve ever done for the Steelers, on and off the field, has been positive. Sometimes you don’t get the same thing back in return.”

Woodley could be one of a handful of players who really get screwed by the potential of next year’s lockout. Here’s hoping he’s been saving his money.

With the uncertainty of next year’s season and with what the next Collective Bargaining Agreement will contain, Woodley might be missing a chance to cash in before the NFL journeys into next year’s unknown.

Tennessee gave RB Chris Johnson more money Monday, though he still had three years left on his original deal. Other teams have performed similar services for their players. Don’t think Woodley hasn’t noticed.

“I’m not going to lie – I was a little disappointed that they didn’t offer anything at all,” Woodley said. “I felt that was a little weird. I guess they decided they’re going to sit back and wait for the CBA and all that to play out.

“You look around the league and you see different teams getting stuff done with their players in similar situations, and you think, ‘What, the Steelers don’t care about me?’ Stuff like that goes through your mind.”

More from Silver’s story:

As for what happens after 2010, Woodley doesn’t sound especially committed to Pittsburgh, which may be a moot point. In theory, the Steelers can apply the franchise tag to keep Woodley from becoming an unrestricted free agent. As a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, Woodley likely would command a one-year salary in the $12 million range under the current system.

Then again, with the CBA set to expire next March, there’s no guarantee that the device still will exist once a new deal is negotiated.

“They’re kind of looking at a franchise tag, but it’s a pretty risky gamble,” Woodley said. “If there is no franchise tag … I guess I can play for 31 [other] teams now. That’s what it boils down to. If they’d wanted to keep other teams from getting a crack, they could’ve tried to do so.”

Sounds like a divorce, at some point, is forthcoming.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 12:42 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 12:43 pm

Guess how Chris Johnson is spending his new money

Some players sign new contracts and celebrate by throwing cash at a fancy car or new house. Chris Johnson apparently celebrates by paying friends for the right to taze them. (Or is it taser them? Tazer them? Anyway…)

Johnson posted a link to the tazing (taze? Okay, never mind) on  his Twitter. He originally stated that the fee was $500 but then updated it to $4500. (We’ll assume the $500 was a typo and not Johnson simply tazing his buddy nine times.)

If you’re so inclined, here’s the link.

-- Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 19, 2010 7:23 pm

Position rankings: running backs

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on running backs.

Andy Benoit's top five
C. Johnson (US Presswire)
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Ray Rice, Ravens

3. Steven Jackson, Rams

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans

Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are both undersized but super powerful runners with breakaway speed. Both are dynamic in the open field. Both are good enough receivers to snag passes in full stride. And both are mean, mean blockers. Rice in particular is special – his running style reminds me of Emmitt Smith’s only with more quickness.

Jackson would also make a Top 5 Players Screwed On A Bad Team list. I can’t believe the Rams ran him into the ground in so many meaningless games last year.

Now to the Peterson-Johnson debate. First off, I’m not much of a numbers guy, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that Johnson outrushed Peterson by 623 yards last season. 623! People think Johnson is simply a homerun threat, but the reality is, because he has unparalleled initial quickness and lateral agility, he creates space between the tackles and in short-yardage situations. Oh, also, Johnson rarely fumbles.

Josh Katzowitz's top five

5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Steven Jackson, Rams

3. Ray Rice, Ravens

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans

Johnson is No. 1, end of discussion. OK, a little more discussion. I’m not saying Peterson is as good as Johnson, because he’s not. But Peterson has been one of the best backs in the league for three years; Johnson only two. (OK, this is a bit flimsy.) But take away Peterson’s fumbles, and the gap between the two shrinks. Also, if we’re talking about numbers, Peterson had 532 more rushing yards than Johnson in 2008. Plus, Johnson isn’t as good a blocker as Peterson. But yeah, no question, Johnson is No. 1 right now. If he misses part of training camp in his contract dispute, though, you have to wonder how that will affect him.

I like Rice just a little bit better than Jackson, simply because Rice is more productive in the pass game. Hell, his 78 catches last year tied for 19th among league leaders, ahead of Chad Ochocinco, Calvin Johnson and Donald Driver. You’d have to hope, at some point, that Jackson can get on a team with a chance to win something. The Rams teams for which he’s played are a combined 28-68. Yet, Jackson is about 500 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s club rushing record.

Since our lists are so similar, we could do a top-eight again. Say, 6. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2008); 7. San Francisco’s Frank Gore (a strong power runner who can break a tackle); and 8. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (this one is a little premature, but he could be the next great running back with his speed, his field-reading ability and the way he continues to gain yards after first contact. I like him quite a bit).

Andy’s rebuttal

I can’t put Charles top 8 just yet. He’s strictly an outside runner at this point. He racked up a lot of yards against bad run defenses late last season (143 against Buffalo, 154 against Cleveland and 259 against Denver). I don’t want this to come across as me hating on the guy – I love Charles’s acceleration and elusiveness – but I need to see a larger body of work.

My 6-8 looks like this: 6. Jonathan Stewart; 7. DeAngelo Williams; 8. Frank Gore. Stewart is a slightly more complete back than Williams. People think he’s just a between-the-tackles bruiser, but he actually has outstanding lateral agility and tempo change. Williams is as shifty as they come. Gore, who has the toughness and valor of a gladiator, plays downhill as well as anyone in the game.

I actually did a top 10 running backs list a few months ago for other websites. I had Cedric Benson at 9 and Rashard Mendenhall at 10. I love both guys’ initial burst. What surprised me is the amount of criticism I fielded for ignoring Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. I didn’t understand the criticism at first, but after reviewing the Dolphins offense closer in recent weeks, I can see where people are coming from. Williams and Brown are consummate pros when it comes to patience and operating within the confines of a system. They’re the best tandem in the game behind the Carolina guys. Agree/disagree?

Josh’s final word

Yeah, I’d have to agree. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a tandem that’s better than Williams and Brown – aside from Williams and Stewart, of course – and I can’t. I could see maybe Buffalo’s Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller entering that conversation after this year – you’d have to include Marshawn Lynch if he’s still around, I guess – but other than that, I’ve got nothing.

Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End | Wide Receiver)

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com