TENNESSEE—Chris Johnson will most probably set there, laughing. Laughing at what the folks have seen saying of him that his production could drop. Just recently, Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson was making negative comments about the league-leading 2,000-yard rusher of last season for the Tennessee Titans. Peterson would say he is better than Johnson although he has a much bigger problem than Johnson which ruins his status as the number one running back in the league currently: fumbling. However, he said what he said.
“You’ve got to understand you’re talking to a guy … that’s just the mentality that I have,” Peterson said, as transcribed by Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. “I have ultimate respect for the guy and he’s a heck of a player. I remember at one point and time me talking on the phone to Chris Johnson. He was telling me, ‘I’m just a big fan of yours. I like your style.’ Some (of the) advice that I gave him was, ‘I play this game to be the best player ever to play the game. That’s my mentality.’”
Peterson said he is the best in the league. Not Johnson, as many people would think currently.
“If you want to be the best running back then you’ve got to believe it before you can accomplish that,” Peterson said. “My mentality doesn’t change. I wish everyone the best that they succeed. But ultimately I play this game to be the best and I’m going to work my tail off to accomplish that goal.”
Peterson is not only one of the many doubters and naysayers of Johnson. Many question if he can be able to put this type of production on for the next five years or so. They don’t think he can keep that type of production for this upcoming season, which begins just this week. But he is probably laughing. He will prove them wrong.
Chris Johnson had to make something of himself that hard way. He played excellent in the high school level of football, many questioned if he can apply that to the NCAA, since many of the teams he faced were just absolute garbage to say at the least. The best he could get was a place called East Carolina University. There, Johnson shined, but many didn’t notice. Again, people questioned his ability since the teams ECU faced were not that good and elite as many of the other colleges out there in NCAA football. It was all just a waste, then.
But Johnson didn’t give up. His last chance to prove himself was at the NFL Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Johnson made his mark and helped his status in the NFL Draft, running a 4.24 in the 40-yard-dash. That timing was the fastest they saw at the Combine that year. From there, he would get drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the early 20’s of the Draft.
It was not a happy pick by many of the Titans’ fans. They were actually pretty stubborn and very unhappy with the selection the Titans made. With LenDale White already there, it just seemed like no use of having Johnson since he also came off a 1,000-yard rushing year. Johnson also seemed like one of those speedy backs who couldn’t take a hit. But he would prove the naysayers wrong.
Johnson would go on for a fabulous year and getting honored for it. He would rush for 1,228 yards along with nine touchdowns. He would gain about five yards per carry. He would also create a solid one-two punch with LenDale White, otherwise known as Smash-and-Dash. But Johnson was easily outperforming White, and the next year, it was Chris Johnson’s moment to steal the show on the stage.
2009 would be a huge feat for any sophomore player, sophomore running back, and many many many running backs in NFL history in general. He would rush for 2,006 yards with 14 touchdowns along with 5.6 yards per carry. He was rolling and was becoming a savior and a so-called God or Messiah to many fantasy football owners. Johnson was the man.
Now entering a new year with the Titans, Johnson is out to prove the naysayers wrong again. He probably hears the same thing everyday: Will his production slip? Experts would say just a little bit or maybe very low in the 1,400 yards range or something like that. All-in-all, many don’t think he will at the top of his game like he was last year. They say it just seems impossible for him top out what he did in 2009.
He has been receiving praise, however. Much praise. But they are still many people doubting his ability, like Adrian Peterson. Many analysts and experts claim other running backs are still better as names like Adrian Peterson come out and even Frank Gore. Peterson even claimed he was better in the following quotes said to the Star-Tribune, which was seen earlier in this column. But what is on Chris Johnson’s mind?
“The goal is 2,500 so I am going to stick to that. I feel like it is very realistic. People didn’t think 2,000 was realistic when I set the goal last year and I made a lot of people believers, so I am going to stick to that,” he told the Tennessean.
He also told this to the Sporting News, “I made a decision to change my nickname to Every Coach’s Dream. I feel like I’m the best player in the NFL. What more can a coach want from the position? You’ve still got people debating — is it Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson? No way possible there should be a debate about who’s the best running back in the NFL.”
SBnation.com claimed that Johnson had swagger. And indeed he does. Johnson said after this year, he will fully put himself as the number one back in the league. And I don’t doubt that. For opposing teams and defenses going against CJ, they better watch out. Johnson is bigger, better, faster, stronger, and he is ready to show that he is truly the number one back.
With his golden smile, his dreadlocks swaying in the air, and another six points on the board, Johnson is ready to commit.
Commit to excellence.