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Titans' Johnson shoots for the moon



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    Titans RB Chris Johnson

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

Titans RB Chris Johnson isn't holding back, and why should he? Johnson is on an unreal run right now, with 928 yards rushing and seven TDs in his past six games.

He think he has a shot at Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark of 2,130 yards. (Dickerson, interestingly, has no clue who Johnson is, or pretends not to.)

It was interesting in my chat with Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt this week, I asked him about the concern over his 195-pound back perhaps wearing down at some point. Here's what he had to say:

"I think you're always concerned at some point with any running back. I played with Earl Campbell and he, strength-wise, was such a big man. But you do take such punishment as a running back. I think what helps Chris a lot is because of his speed and his quickness, and he's so light on his feet, that a lot of times he doesn't necessarily take the biggest shot. He gets the yardage, but he's quick enough to get down and move on. Almost like a wide receiver in that way."

It's a fair point. But Johnson is tough, too, something Reinfeldt mentioned. And when I watched the game tape of Titans-Cardinals again, I did see Johnson take a healthy wallop on a reception in the second half. He popped right up like it was a sixth-grader hitting him, but you could tell he was putting on a game face. He did take a whack on the play.

And he'll take more, starting with this weekend at Indy. The Colts held him in check the first time around, with nine rushes for 34 yards, and though they are not a big defense, they have fast, hard-hitting guys. Too bad Bob Sanders isn't healthy. But they have a lot of guys like that.

If Johnson wants his shot at Dickerson, too, he'll have to average at least 25 carries a game, I'd think, in the final five games. That would give him about 340 for the season, and if he's close to averaging his current 6.4 yards a clip (amazing, isn't it?), that would give him 2,096 yards with 125 more totes. That's still short of the record by a few first downs.

It's a hard record to break, and I think if Johnson falls off at some point, Jeff Fisher is not going to be stupid about things and expose his franchise back to too much punishment.

After all, Campbell had only a nine year-career and was only dominant for five of them. The Titans need to find a way to make Johnson last.

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