There has been no progress between the Tennesse Titans and standout running back Chris Johnson, one of the most valuable players in the NFL. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Johnson might demand a trade by mid-season. With the season kicking off in just over two weeks, it’s becoming ever more apparent that second stringer Javon Ringer, the third year product of Michigan State Spartans football might be the feature back; for awhile. At least for week one, as who knows what kind of game shape Johnson will be in once this ugly hold out ends.
It likely won’t be Jamie Harper; or any of the other RBs on the roster (Stafon Johnson, Herb Donaldson, Kestahn Moore), as those guys will likely never reach the two deep. Unless there’s a rash of injuries.
According to Pro Football Zone:
Right now the Titans are willing to pay Johnson around $10 million per year. The problem is that Johnson wants to make about $13 million per season. Just to give you some perspective, the average highest salary for running backs in the NFL right now is $8 million per season. Johnson is also likely looking for around $40 million in guaranteed money at this point. Which is almost what Larry Fitzgerald got.
So what kind of runner is Ringer, a 5-9, 205 pounder from Dayton, Ohio? Well he ran a 4.4 in his pre-draft workouts, with a 1.5 split in the 10, 2.48 in the twenty. While a member of the Spartans, he split time with current Buffalo Bills back Jehuu Caulcrick. During ’06-’07, Caulcrick and Ringer were like a thunder and lightning attack for MSU, as the 6-foot, 250 lb Caulcrick was a big bruising change of pace.
In ’08, Ringer became the bulk carrier for State, and found himself on many award watch lists. He had a great college career, but hasn’t done much in the pros. Hence the reason I brought up his time in East Lansing. In two seasons, he’s carried 59 times for 287 yards (just under 5 ypc) and 2 TDs. Also, he’s caught seven passes for 44 yards.
Johnson held out last year as well, so Ringer has experience being a #1 back in the preseason, but can that translate to real games? Ringer has talent no doubt, but Johnson is the most explosive back in all of football, and a 2,000 yard rusher in 2009. I had an exclusive with Titans Defensive Coordinator Chuck Cecil, and he articulated what makes Johnson such a unique talent. (Read full Cecil interview/feature here)
“the biggest difference between the college and the professional game is the hash marks and setting the edge. And what happens in college with the hash marks being so close to the sidelines, is you can out-run the contain. In the NFL, you should not be able to out-run the contain but Chris can do that and that’s what sets him apart. He actually out-runs the contain a lot of the time, and for us it helps us set a better edge by practicing against a guy like that. In college, if you have someone who is a lot faster than somebody else you have a lot longer time to outrun the edge. In the NFL, you don’t have that because the ball is always in the middle of the field basically,” he said.
An interesting aspect of the game that few are familiar with.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
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