When speaking with the media last month about goals for the upcoming season, Tennessee Titans star running back Chris Johnson did not hesitate.
“Every year I want to rush for 2,000 yards, and I feel like if we are doing what is right and we making plays on Sunday and if I get to that yardage, I feel like we can be a playoff team and hopefully win the Super Bowl,” Johnson told the Associated Press.
2000 yards. Playoffs. Super Bowl. All in one sentence.
When really looking into what Johnson said, he is not really making any predictions. Rather, it seems he is confident in his own abilities and what he has seen from his team this offseason.
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What he said seems to have a “domino effect” to it; if he has a big year on the ground, it will open up plays for others, which, in turn, will allow the team to win some games, which could lead to the playoffs – or even a Super Bowl.
You have to respect when your best player has that sort of confidence. Had he come out and said that he doubted their chances of being successful this season, there would have been some serious backlash. Whether your team is stacked with talent like the Niners, or deprived of talent like the Raiders, you should still have confidence going into the season.
Johnson is familiar with rushing for 2,000 yards, as he did it back in 2009, but has not come close to matching that sort of production since then. With a beefed up offensive line, Johnson could change that.
Sure, there may be a degree of selfishness in Johnson’s statement, especially considering they brought in Shonn Green to relieve some carries from Johnson, but he does not worry about that.
“If I don’t rush for 1,000 yards, then I lost a step. I’m not the same guy,” Johnson said. “But when I want to run for 2,000 yards, I’m being selfish. Just got to take it.”
The Titans were a “middle of the pack” team in the NFL last year, and are looking to get better. They are a tricky team when trying to evaluate. Some could see them winning some games and becoming a potential playoff team, while others could see them taking a step back and having a high draft pick in 2014. They could be a 10-win team as easily as they could be a four-win team.
Johnson’s ability to run the ball is not the only catalyst for success when it comes to this team. Quarterback play, production at wide receiver, and defensive back play will dictate the 2013 season for this team.
Would Johnson having a big year on the ground help? Yes. Does the Titans’ success hinder on Johnson’s success? No.
Food for thought: The year Johnson did go for 2,000 yards, the Titans missed the playoffs. Let that marinate.
Follow Matt Gonzales on Twitter @mattgonzales25