Chris Johnson: Back to Being the Best
5 years ago a relatively unknown tailback from East Carolina University was drafted 24th overall by the Tennessee Titans. Playing for ECU did not make Chris Johnson a household name, but his record-breaking 40-yard dash (4.24 sec) in the NFL combine in 2008 made his value skyrocket entering the 2008 draft. Johnson wasted no time becoming one of the premier backs in the NFL and was chosen to play in the Pro Bowl his first 3 seasons. In only his second year in the NFL, Johnson won the NFL rushing title with 2,006 yards and he also broke Marshall Faulk’s NFL record for total yards from scrimmage with an astronomical 2,509. He is one of only six players to ever break 2,000 rushing yards for a season, joining the likes of O.J Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, and Jamal Lewis…pretty good company (wife-killing aside of course).
If you play fantasy football or even just watch my favorite show, The League, then you would know that for the past 3 seasons, Johnson has been a hands down early first round pick across any league. Unfortunately for those who were unlucky enough to draft Johnson this past season in the early first round, you saw terribly low numbers compared to CJ’s behemoth first 3 years in the NFL. Granted, 1,400 all-purpose yards is nothing to turn your nose up at, the fact that he had only one more touchdown (4) than he had fumbles (3) makes his 2011 season a pretty big bust. His Titans’ had the 31st ranked rushing offense in the NFL last season and the only reason that his team finished with a respectable 9-7 record was because they played in the worst division in the entire league. I mean the Texans were an above average team but between the Colts and Jaguars, there really were a bunch of scrubs in the AFC South last year.
With the 2012 season around the corner, preseason rankings are floating around the sports world and there are a lot of Chris Johnson skeptics out there. I for one am not among those skeptics. This morning, Johnson made a bold statement that made most people think he was full of shit, I on the other hand thought it was a vote of confidence and the way I wish my starting running back would think. He claimed that he would be able to beat the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, in a 40-yard sprint.
“I feel like if I would have kept training for track I’d have a chance, but I play football and he runs track, so it’s totally different. I think I could still probably beat him in the 40. If I actually trained for the distance he trained for, I think I’d have a chance.”
Sure, Bolt ran the 100 m (109 yards) at a world record pace of 9.63 seconds, but I still feel that if Johnson is this confident in his sprinting ability then he is going into this season with the right mindset. In his first 3 seasons in the NFL, Johnson had most defensive players looking at his back as he blew by them on a regular basis and after only one sub-par year there are people thinking he’s done. Johnson is a solid 5’11 191 lbs. and he powers through defensive linemen and linebackers like they are made of paper. He has an ability to cut up the field and switch directions so fast tat he can make even the best secondary players look amateur like. Johnson might be a little out of his element by thinking he can beat Bolt in any race but you have to admire this man’s confidence.
I’m going to go out on a limb here by saying that not only will Chris Johnson have a good comeback year, as compared to last season, but he will finish the regular season with the most rushing and all-purpose yards in the NFL. Unfortunately for Tennessee fans, Johnson’s successes won’t lead to a winning season because the rest of their team absolutely sucks. I have 3 different fantasy football teams this season and I can only pray that I get CJ in at least one of them. Chris Johnson: 2012 NFL MVP Lock it in now!!!