Film Breakdown: 2010 CJ vs. Indy

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 30: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on October 30, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Even after a win over a division rival, it's still clear today that the run game is broken.  Against arguably the worst run defense in the league, our star running back couldn't muster up more than 3 yards per carry.  The question is why?  And, that's a difficult one to answer.  With so many moving parts on every given play, it's hard to peg it just on one person.  I can tell you, it's not just one person, or even one unit.  For the purpose of this breakdown, though, we'll just be examining Johnson's performance from 2010 against Indianapolis.

I went back and compared this year's Colts game to last year's.  It's not an apples to apples comparison, of course.  If anything, it should have been easier to run the ball this year, as Indy has struggled more against the run.  I'll do my best to show what's happening with the assistance of some pictures.  But, most of the time speed isn't accurately represented with the confines of a picture.  That's the thing that really struck me, though.  Chris Johnson was running at a different speed last year.  Not only top end speed, but also his acceleration and cuts.

For today, I'll break down just two plays from last year.  Although it is a small sample size, my hope is that it can help illustrate some of the differences between our run game this year and last.

So, onward through the jump for still shots of better times in our run game.

Play #1

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

Titans are in "12" personnel.  7 guys in the box.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

This appears to be an inside zone play gone back.  That is, I don't believe this is a designed cutback.  Initially, there's a small crease inside, but that closes quickly.  You can see the safety now entering the play.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

The safety is now one on one with CJ in the heart of the play as Johnson cuts back.  9 out of 10 we've seen Johnson get tackled in these situations this year.  In this play, however, it's a different outcome.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

In the middle of a sea of defenders, CJ gives a quick shake and is off to the races.  CJ begins running horizontally as the other safety (out of the screen, in front of Kenny) is bearing down on the play.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

Johnson uses his uncanny speed to elude not one, but two more defenders and get to the sideline.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_9

Once to the sideline, he quickly picks up another 15 or so yards.

Play #2

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

Titans are in "21" personnel with Cook in the slot.  Colts have 6 guys in the box.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

Safety drops down in run support.  From just this shot, I would have wagered this wouldn't be a successful play.  Yet, CJ wows us in a way that reminds us of better times by making defenders miss at speeds unrivaled by any other NFL running back.  

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

Again, this isn't anything other than Chris Johnson just being on a different level than the opposition.  He makes two defenders miss here.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

He's now full speed, and cuts at full speed.  Defender fail #3.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

Defender fail #4.

Screen_shot_2011-11-01_at_10

Defender fail #5.  And, finally CJ is brought down after a 37 yard gain.

You look at both of these plays, and it's CJ's athleticism that really jumps out at the viewer.  It's not the O-line, which is, admittedly better.  But, that's not the "X-Factor" here.  These big plays, and many other ~5 yard pickups throughout the game, aren't a result of decidedly superior run blocking.  It's more Cj being decisive in the hole and running at a different speed than every other player on the field.  

Johnson isn't the only one shouldering the blame this season.  The O-line has played piss poor.  But, the reason you make a guy one of the highest paid running backs in NFL history is that he can make plays in spite of these deficiencies.  He did that last year, and he certainly did it 2009.  I don't believe that all of Johnson's athleticism just vanished in one offseason.  It just seems that he's timid this year.  To use the old cliche, he's not "running hungry."  I don't know how to fix this.  It almost appears to be more mental than anything else, and he's clearly getting frustrated.  My suggestion would be for Johnson to put on some game tapes from the glory days and contrast them to 2011.  I'm certain he'd see the difference.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Music City Miracles

You must be a member of Music City Miracles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Music City Miracles. You should read them.

Join Music City Miracles

You must be a member of Music City Miracles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Music City Miracles. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker