At some point in the next few weeks the Tennessee Titans are going to give Chris Johnson a boatload of money. No matter what you think about how much the Titans should be willing to give him, or whether or not a running back is worth the money, you have to agree that CJ is an elite playmaker in this league.
The problem here is that the Jeff Fisher administration tried to use him like he was Eddie George. That was stupid for a couple of reasons- 1. That is taking years off his career and 2. There is a much more effective way of using him.
The other day I went back and looked at Marshall Faulk's numbers from 1999 when he had 2,429 yards from scrimmage. That was the record until CJ2K broke it in 2009. The thing that stands out about the record is how he got there. In 1999 Faulk had 253 carries for 1,381 yards and 87 catches for 1,048 yards. It took CJ 358 carries to get his 2,006 yards. That means that Faulk's total touches were 18 less than the number of carries Johnson had.Of course I understand that getting CJ those yards on less touches is easier said that done, but there are some obvious things that can be improved to lessen the wear and tear on CJ. The first doesn't even have anything to do with Chris. The Titans have to employ a passing game that other teams fear. Faulk was a part of "The Greatest Show on Turf" offense that featured Kurt Warner throwing to guys like Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt. The Titans don't have two receivers that stack up against those two, but I will take Kenny Britt against either one of them, and effectively using Jared Cook to stretch the field will open some things up for CJ.
The second big thing is you have to find ways to get CJ involved in the passing game other than just the dump off. We are going to actually see some screens this year, and the thought of CJ running down the field with blockers in front of him gets me really excited.
The third thing is that the offensive line has to be a lot better than it was last season. Mike Munchak says it will, and he seems like a trustworthy individual.
Bottom line here is that if you are going to pay a guy elite playmaker money, you should use him as an elite playmaker. Fisher/Mike Heimerdinger didn't, but I expect Munchak/Chris Palmer to give it a shot.