In 2009, Chris Johnson's mammoth 2,006-yard rushing season earned him the moniker "CJ2K." And though he hasn't fallen below 1,000 yards since, it's much more appropriate to refer to the Titans running back as "CJ?K."
Skeptics don't see another 2,000-yard season coming, despite big improvements on the offensive line this offseason. CJ?K is not his own skeptic.
"I know I have another 2,000-yard season in me,” Johnson told Jim Rome on the Jim Rome Show. “I would love to get 2,000 yards again, but I haven't been to the playoffs since my rookie year; I want to get back there."
The Titans are probably a long shot for the playoffs. But if they're getting there, it's going to be because Johnson blows up again. And he has a better shot at blowing up than in years past thanks to Tennessee signing guard Andy Levitre and drafting guard Chance Warmack this offseason.
Johnson, as we noted during the draft, is not upset with these additions.
“I was like, ‘Thank God,'” Johnson told Rome. “[It showed] they're trying to put somebody in front of me and opening some more holes for me."
Not all the additions this offseason favor Johnson, though. The Titans also (over)paid former Jets running back Shonn Greene, a move that CJ?K is starting to come around on after initially (understandably) hating the signing.
“I didn't like the move. I didn't think it was a smart move,” said Johnson of his initial impression. “[But] that's because of being too quick to say things and not really knowing the whole objectives of things. Once the offseason started, being here, being in the playbook and seeing the type of things they're trying to do, I don't think it was really a bad choice.
"I'm not worried about him taking any carries."
Well, then. The guess here is Greene will take carries from Johnson. That's exactly why the Titans signed him. And it's possible Greene will serve as a grinder and goal-line back, designed largely to keep Johnson fresh so he can hit home runs.
Johnson has been boom or bust for his entire career; with the exception of 2009, he hasn't recorded three consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
That's not a knock on Johnson. He's obviously capable of being a feature back in the NFL. But you have to wonder how much more effective he'd be with someone helping to keep him fresh.
There's a pretty good chance we'll find out in 2013. Even if Johnson might not be happy about it.