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Chris Johnson: After 'step backwards' vs. Packers, Jets RBs know 'we can't have a game like we had'


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FLORHAM PARK – Sunday’s 31-24 loss to the Packers was not a pretty day for the Jets’ running game.

Chris Ivory ran 13 times for 43 yards (3.3 per carry). Chris Johnson ran 12 times for 21 yards (1.8 per carry), with 8 yards coming on one carry. Other than that, Johnson gained just 13 yards on 11 carries. Bilal Powell had the best per-carry clip (4.0), but he carried just four times, for 16 yards.

After running for 212 yards on 34 carries against the Raiders, in a season-opening win, the Jets managed just 146 yards on 37 carries against the Packers. That’s a per-carry drop-off from 6.2 against the Raiders to 3.9 against the Packers.

Remember, too, that the Jets’ number against the Raiders was particularly high because Ivory ran for a 71-yard touchdown. Take that out, and the Jets averaged 4.3 yards per carry against Oakland.

“We kind of took a step backwards this past week,” Johnson said of the Jets’ running game in Green Bay. “The first game of the season, we had a pretty good game. I feel like we took a step backwards (against the Packers). But it’s like that in the NFL. Every week is not going to be easy. There are going to be some tough weeks where we’re going to have to throw the ball more than we run the ball. That’s just part of the NFL.”

But, Johnson said, “We know, in the running back room, that we can’t have a game like we had last game.”

The Jets actually ran the ball five more times than they threw it against the Packers. But Johnson’s point remains: It wasn’t a good day for the running game.

Last season, the Jets did well running the ball. They ranked sixth in the NFL with 134.9 rushing yards per game and 10th with 4.4 yards per carry. Johnson knows the Jets won’t have 200-yard rushing outputs every week, like they enjoyed against Oakland. They eclipsed 200 just once in 2013 (208) and once in 2012 (252).

But routinely not reaching 4 yards a carry won’t cut it for a team that ran 30.8 times per game last year, fifth-most in the NFL.

Johnson, whom the Jets acquired in free agency this past offseason, was far more productive against the Raiders than he was against the Packers – which probably stems from the fact that the Raiders are not very good, and the Packers are very good.

Anyway, against the Raiders, Johnson ran 13 times for 68 yards (5.2 per carry) and made five catches (on five targets) for 23 yards. Against the Packers, his one catch (on three targets) resulted in zero yards. Though Johnson has just 13 and 12 carries in his first two games, he doesn’t expect that to become routine.

“I don’t think it’ll be a 12, 13 type deal,” he said of his workload. “I think that’s just how the game went. It just worked out that way that week.”

In his final three seasons with the Titans combined, Johnson averaged 17 carries per game. He never carried fewer than 262 times in any of those seasons. It is extremely unlikely – because of the presence of Ivory and Powell, and because of what the Jets’ coaches have said about splitting the workload and keeping Johnson fresh – that Johnson will get those sort of numbers with the Jets. Maybe he’s looking at 14 to 16 carries per game, instead of 12 or 13. But the Jets likely will not routinely give him 17 to 19.

Against the Packers, there a couple reasons why Johnson and the Jets’ running game had a hard time getting going, as colleague Dom Cosentino has explained already here in our cozy little corner of the Interwebs. But let’s recap.

One reason is that the left side of the Jets’ offensive line – and second-year left guard Brian Winters in particular – struggled with run blocking. Seven of Johnson’s 12 carries went to the left, and those seven carries yielded a measly 3 yards.

Another reason: The Packers stacked the box against the Jets in the second half, which made it hard for the running backs to find room. This seemingly became an even bigger issue when a hamstring injury sidelined top receiver Eric Decker during the third quarter. With Decker out, the Jets had no legitimate deep threat, and the Packers could keep more defenders around the line, to limit the running game.

When asked what he, personally, could have done better in Green Bay, Johnson said, "Basically just made more plays, do whatever it takes to make more plays."

This week, in a Monday night game, the Jets host a Bears team that has allowed 161 rushing yards per game through two weeks – 27th in the NFL. Yes, it is still early, so league-wide rankings are probably a bit unreliable at this point. But the Bears find themselves 28th in the league, with 5.4 yards per carry allowed.

That’s largely because the Bills gashed the Bears for 193 rushing yards on 33 attempts in the opener, which the Bills won. That’s 5.8 yards per carry. Johnson and the Jets’ running backs room would sign up for that number right now.

 

          - D. Slater

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This is Chris Johnson now. A solid week, a terrible week. He's a boom or bust player. They'd be better served with Ivory and Powell getting the carries and playing time.

Pretty much. I hate when article say "if you take out the long run..." With a player like cj1k you take the strikeouts with the home runs. Other than his one transcendent season, that is Chris Johnson.

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Keep in mind as well running the ball wears down a team in the 4th quarter paving the way for those 70 yard runs when we beat down the defense for most of the game. Most of our 3 and outs had way to many passes attempted while we had a big lead early we should hove pounded them and pounded them and the 4th quarter might have been a different story vs the Pack. Im thinking Buddy would have punched Monhinwig in the face for such atrocities

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Keep in mind as well running the ball wears down a team in the 4th quarter paving the way for those 70 yard runs when we beat down the defense for most of the game. Most of our 3 and outs had way to many passes attempted while we had a big lead early we should hove pounded them and pounded them and the 4th quarter might have been a different story vs the Pack. Im thinking Buddy would have punched Monhinwig in the face for such atrocities

Agreed. What I assumed would be a mismatch wasn't. I'm not sure why some are blaming CJ, as if getting tackled behind the LOS was ALL his fault. Look at the video, they knew the running play before the snap. Add to that as someone else mentioned they changed up their line.

Even down 21-3 they out maneuvered MM yet they lost because of a bad Milliner play and a great catch by Jordy.

The more I think about the game the more I get frustrated. That game was weird on so many levels...

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Use CJ for screens only.  

That's just it none of these backs so far run like the WCO backs I am familiar with i.e.. Charlie Garner, B.West and others and I don't know if it's the them, or the line, or new offense most likely a combo. We need a back somewhat like this, not 3. Mobile linemen needed.

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ox5Nm2-61Y

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Use CJ for screens only.  

 

This. 

 

Ivory and Powell should be doing the early down pounding, and CJ should be on the field for 3rd downs, and screen passes should be a bigger part of this offense. Look at how Charles, Woodhead and Sproles have been used over the years in the passing game. Gimme some of that... 

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That was the issue with CJ on Sunday. His homerun was 8 yards.  

 

Article also tries to make a point by "taking out" the 71 yarder from the oakland game to say jets "only" averaged 4.3. Ridiculous to do so, when you commit to the run game, you are consciously trying to create the opportunities to break a few. Thats like saying if you take out Babe Ruth's home runs he was  an average player who struck out a lot. Well if he wasnt a power hitter trying to belt those dingers he wouldnt have whiffed as much.

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This. 

 

Ivory and Powell should be doing the early down pounding, and CJ should be on the field for 3rd downs, and screen passes should be a bigger part of this offense. Look at how Charles, Woodhead and Sproles have been used over the years in the passing game. Gimme some of that... 

 

 

Ah, the mantra of the Jet fan!  Use more screen passes!  Screen passes do not work without the threat of a passing game.  Teams are bunched up on the Jets to stop the run.  The screen is an alternative to the pass - get them storming in on pass rush and dump it behind them.  It does not work when teams have stacked the box and their safeties are sitting on it. 

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Ah, the mantra of the Jet fan!  Use more screen passes!  Screen passes do not work without the threat of a passing game.  Teams are bunched up on the Jets to stop the run.  The screen is an alternative to the pass - get them storming in on pass rush and dump it behind them.  It does not work when teams have stacked the box and their safeties are sitting on it. 

 

It also does not work if one never tries it.

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If one watched the game or read the statistics, one would know that Johnson was targeted three times.  The results were 1 catch for zero yards.  That is more than 10% of his snaps, but hey, keep doing it until it stops working. 

 

I wasn't referring specifically to the GB game. I was making a general statement about how I'd like to see him used more regularly, and it was pretty clear that's what I was saying.

 

Of course, there will be times they abandon it because it doesn't work. This is a given. Are we going to digress to the point where I have to explain the givens to you, while you convince yourself your answers are smarter than mine?

 

Johnson was incorporated into the passing game his entire time in Tennesse, even when they didn't have the "threat of a passing game".

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I wasn't referring specifically to the GB game. I was making a general statement about how I'd like to see him used more regularly, and it was pretty clear that's what I was saying.

 

Of course, there will be times they abandon it because it doesn't work. This is a given. Are we going to digress to the point where I have to explain the givens to you, while you convince yourself your answers are smarter than mine?

 

Johnson was incorporated into the passing game his entire time in Tennesse, even when they didn't have the "threat of a passing game".

 

 

As the saying goes, LMFAO

 

He has been targeted 8 times in 2 games.  That would seem to be a fair number to me. 64 targets would be the most he has seen since 2009.  In case you didn't notice, he is barely our #1 back, unlike Tennessee where he was their entire offense.  The idea he should be targeted more, especially in a game where he is being owned, is silly, but hey, go ahead and convince yourself your answers are smarter than mine.  T0m seems to be on your bandwagon now, maybe he will join in. 

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If one watched the game or read the statistics, one would know that Johnson was targeted three times.  The results were 1 catch for zero yards.  That is more than 10% of his snaps, but hey, keep doing it until it stops working.

What Johnson brings to the table is some pass catching ability and speed. I like having on the field as a potential threat in the passing game. He's not much of a threat getting the ball between the tackles. They may come to the conclusion that CJ's best use here would be as a third down back - picking up the blitz, as a safety valve, and with some plays designed for him. He's definitely a guy I'd like near Geno when the play is breaking down.

Powell is a good back who can also catch. Having him split time with Ivory could add that pass catching dimension on first and second down.

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As the saying goes, LMFAO

 

He has been targeted 8 times in 2 games.  That would seem to be a fair number to me. 64 targets would be the most he has seen since 2009.  In case you didn't notice, he is barely our #1 back, unlike Tennessee where he was their entire offense.  The idea he should be targeted more, especially in a game where he is being owned, is silly, but hey, go ahead and convince yourself your answers are smarter than mine.  T0m seems to be on your bandwagon now, maybe he will join in. 

 

This is a good response, unlike your previous smart assery. You get +1 point.

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Powell is a good back who can also catch. Having him split time with Ivory could add that pass catching dimension on first and second down.

 

Hey did you see Ivory caught a pass on Sunday?  He did it!!!  A whole three yards!  Who says he isn't versatile?

 

 

(And yes, in case you're curious, I have a google alert set up to tell me whenever you say anything about Ivory.)

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Hey did you see Ivory caught a pass on Sunday?  He did it!!!  A whole three yards!  Who says he isn't versatile?

 

 

(And yes, in case you're curious, I have a google alert set up to tell me whenever you say anything about Ivory.)

Lol. It's not like I don't like the player. I do. I just think he's a little overrated around here, and best suited to part time work. Thru two games, I definitely prefer him in the workhorse role while CJ gets some finesse duty.

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Lol. It's not like I don't like the player. I do. I just think he's a little overrated around here, and best suited to part time work. Thru two games, I definitely prefer him in the workhorse role while CJ gets some finesse duty.

 

RBBC is the way to do things.  Just look around the league.  RB's getting hurt and beating family members up all over the place, and teams are having to turn to cheap, sh*tty replacements as a result.  Our RB's stay rested and beat people up ON the field.   

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Not to throw fantasy football into the mix here, but I will anyway.  I'm thinking about starting both Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory in two different fantasy leagues as WR/RB flex positions (essentially my 3rd RBs).  Do you think either, both or none of them are a good option this week?  I think we're going to try to pound the rock again, especially if Decker isn't 100%.

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Pretty much. I hate when article say "if you take out the long run..." With a player like cj1k you take the strikeouts with the home runs. Other than his one transcendent season, that is Chris Johnson.

 

Honestly I like looking at production that way becuase it tells you if a RB had a good game, or a terrible game with one good run mixed in.  If a guy starts the game with a 90 yard TD run and finishes with 20 carries for 110 yards then he wasn't as good as it looks on paper.  JMO.

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Honestly I like looking at production that way becuase it tells you if a RB had a good game, or a terrible game with one good run mixed in.  If a guy starts the game with a 90 yard TD run and finishes with 20 carries for 110 yards then he wasn't as good as it looks on paper.  JMO.

 

 

 

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

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that's how i would define removing things that occurred using subjective criteria and then acting like what's left is accurate of real life

 

So which would be accurate in a case like the one I mentioned?  If a guy breaks one big run for 90, then goes 19 more carries for 20 yards, the stat line looks like he had a productive day, but reality is that the offense, minus a single play, was completely unable to move the ball.  Is that a good day for your offense, or a bad day?  Serious question.

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This is a good response, unlike your previous smart assery. You get +1 point.

 

It's funny that you took my response against Jets fans in general so personally, but were okay with this.  The call from more screen passes around here predates your appearance.  Screen passes work against a team hell bent on rushing the passer - meaning no team that has played the Jets since 2001 (2008 potentially excepted).  People used to want Pennington to throw screens, but they would be useless.  The D is already concentrated on the backs and up at the line.  I do think they should use Johnson catching passes.  His speed *should* make him effective even on deeper routes and beating LBs to the flat, etc.  On Sunday he failed, even when covered by Peppers who is not exactly known for his blanket skills. 

 

Lol. It's not like I don't like the player. I do. I just think he's a little overrated around here, and best suited to part time work. Thru two games, I definitely prefer him in the workhorse role while CJ gets some finesse duty.

 

I prefer Ivory to see more of the work.  I think they plan to use Johnson and hope to break a few and work Ivory in so that he gets more carries down the stretch when he can overpower a tired D. 

 

Not to throw fantasy football into the mix here, but I will anyway.  I'm thinking about starting both Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory in two different fantasy leagues as WR/RB flex positions (essentially my 3rd RBs).  Do you think either, both or none of them are a good option this week?  I think we're going to try to pound the rock again, especially if Decker isn't 100%.

 

I am not a fantasy football guy, but IMO the Jets backs would not be high on my list.

 

Honestly I like looking at production that way becuase it tells you if a RB had a good game, or a terrible game with one good run mixed in.  If a guy starts the game with a 90 yard TD run and finishes with 20 carries for 110 yards then he wasn't as good as it looks on paper.  JMO.

 

I think that works with a player like Ivory and his big gainer against the Raiders.  Johnson is expected to bust one now and then and you are putting up with negative no gains for the few that he breaks

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It's funny that you took my response against Jets fans in general so personally, but were okay with this.  The call from more screen passes around here predates your appearance.  Screen passes work against a team hell bent on rushing the passer - meaning no team that has played the Jets since 2001 (2008 potentially excepted).  People used to want Pennington to throw screens, but they would be useless.  The D is already concentrated on the backs and up at the line.  I do think they should use Johnson catching passes.  His speed *should* make him effective even on deeper routes and beating LBs to the flat, etc.  On Sunday he failed, even when covered by Peppers who is not exactly known for his blanket skills. 

 

 

I prefer Ivory to see more of the work.  I think they plan to use Johnson and hope to break a few and work Ivory in so that he gets more carries down the stretch when he can overpower a tired D. 

 

 

I am not a fantasy football guy, but IMO the Jets backs would not be high on my list.

 

 

I think that works with a player like Ivory and his big gainer against the Raiders.  Johnson is expected to bust one now and then and you are putting up with negative no gains for the few that he breaks

 

I guess it all boils down to philosiphy but I can't understand sticking with a back with that type of style.  Why give a guy a chance to kill 10+ drives while holding out the hope that he'll break one for a score.  Give me a guy who runs north/south and is capable of breaking one but doesn't get you a ton of zero or negative yard runs.

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It's funny that you took my response against Jets fans in general so personally, but were okay with this.  The call from more screen passes around here predates your appearance.  Screen passes work against a team hell bent on rushing the passer - meaning no team that has played the Jets since 2001 (2008 potentially excepted).  People used to want Pennington to throw screens, but they would be useless.  The D is already concentrated on the backs and up at the line.  I do think they should use Johnson catching passes.  His speed *should* make him effective even on deeper routes and beating LBs to the flat, etc.  On Sunday he failed, even when covered by Peppers who is not exactly known for his blanket skills. 

 

 

 

I think I've established a pretty clear history of having a very low opinion of Jets fans, therefore, why would I not "take it personally"? :P

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I guess it all boils down to philosiphy but I can't understand sticking with a back with that type of style.  Why give a guy a chance to kill 10+ drives while holding out the hope that he'll break one for a score.  Give me a guy who runs north/south and is capable of breaking one but doesn't get you a ton of zero or negative yard runs.

 

Generally, I agree with you, but it boils down to points.  IMO, inconsistency on offense is not as bad as D.  On D, you will get picked on when you slip up (see Cro last year).  On O, when you have a team with difficulty scoring the home run has a ton of value.  Theoretically, the D *should* have to worry about it, though either they didn't or the team could not capitalize on Sunday.  

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Generally, I agree with you, but it boils down to points.  IMO, inconsistency on offense is not as bad as D.  On D, you will get picked on when you slip up (see Cro last year).  On O, when you have a team with difficulty scoring the home run has a ton of value.  Theoretically, the D *should* have to worry about it, though either they didn't or the team could not capitalize on Sunday.  

That's how I feel, but I guess I feel like a guy "possibly" getting you one TD per game, isn't as valuable as  a guy (or an offense as a whole really) that can move the ball with some regularity and set up multiple scoring chances.  I see your point, but can't stand when a back breaks the occasional long run, gets shut down the rest of the way, and people look at the raw numbers and say he had a good/great day.

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