Tennessee Titans: Should They Be Drafting a Contingency Plan for CJ2K?

Will LomasCorrespondent IApril 4, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - January 01: Inside linebacker Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans of the Tennessee Titans on January 1, 2012 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

NFL free agency is getting quieter by the day, and the draft is right around the corner. Most teams are looking at what holes they still have left on the roster.

With the Titans addressing the needs at safety, left guard and defensive, end they now have a little more wiggle room to take BPA (Best Player Available) in April. The question that comes with the BPA strategy is: What happens if you already have a star in that position?

The position that seems to present the most value year after year is the running back spot, so it is likely to think that in either the first or second round, the best player left on our board will be a running back. The real question is, is it time to start drafting CJ2K's replacement?

Over his time in Tennessee, Chris Johnson has been one of the most productive running backs in the league, even topping 2,000 yards rushing in 2009—a feat that only six other have obtained.

So why replace him? Well, running backs are getting more and more notorious for having short shelf-lives in the NFL. The fear with Chris is that while he used to be able to shift into that fifth gear and run, now he seems to barely get to third before he runs out of bounds.

He is missing that killer instinct that he once had, the never-quit attitude that made him great. He didn't just outrun everyone—he was dangerous because he wasn't afraid to cut back inside, because he knew that a linebacker wasn't going to catch him.

He was confident and cocky, and he even had his own swagger about him. Then, the offensive line stopped opening holes. It wasn't his fault, but what he could control was his effort. Not only did he lose his "no fear" attitude, but he lost his will to fight for extra yards.

Getting taken down by ankle tackles and being run out of bounds by linebackers? That isn't the Chris Johnson Titans fans begged Fisher to use more. That wasn't the weapon that was supposed to give our QB an eight-man box to beat on every play. And while some fans believe he can regain his 2009 form, I just think it is time for a change.

If he is going to be upgraded, it's time to go all in. We can't just settle for another third-day pick i.e. Ringer and Harper. I say we go after Miami RB Lamar Miller.

Miller would be a great complement to CJ if we wanted to keep him on the roster. Both are one-cut backs that can plant their foot and explode to the second level. Given the added level of talent on the Titans offensive line this year and the possibility of even more coming in the second wave of free agency and the draft, we may see a scheme change.

While Hutchinson has been a power-guard for his entire career, I believe he could fit into a zone-scheme, which is one that offensive line coach Bruce Mathews is familiar with.

With all the speed in the backfield and Jake Locker as the starter, teams would have no choice but to have eight men in the box. The play-action would be set up consistently, and the Titans offense would look remarkably like that of the Texans. Think about it: Britt=Johnson, Johnson/Miller=Foster and Cook=Daniels. With those tools in place, we could put up 30-plus points a game all from one draft pick. 

It is not the old Titan way to be an explosive offense that can beat opponents in a shootout. Luckily, the Titans aren't the same old Titans. With Webster and Munchak at the helm, the Titans have been consistently more aggressive in every aspect of the game—playcalling, offseason signings, etc.

There is no reason to stay true to the old ways when you don't have the pieces for it. I expect great things out of the Titans over the next three to five years with the talent they have under contract. Not only can they be an explosive offense and a punishing defense, but they could finally take their seat as the division powerhouse with the Texans losing key players in free agency this year.

Now is the time to pull the trigger on an offensive playmaker, and it could be "Miller-time" in Tennessee.