When Titans fans heard NFL Commish Roger Goodell step to the podium and say "With the 24th pick in the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Chris Johnson out of ECU" many of them let out a collective "Who?" It wasn't that Johnson was a complete unknown, but most draft "experts" didn't have him going until the second or even third round. Coupled with the fact that the Titans had drafted a running back in the second round of the two previous drafts begged the question of "Why?" as well. But after Chris Johnson's rookie campaign, the "Why?" was obvious and the "Who?" was no longer an issue, as C.J. most certainly made himself a household name.
With almost 1,500 yards of total offense, 10 TD's, a second-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting and a trip to the Pro Bowl, Chris Johnson has quickly become one of the NFL's next wave of superstars. The focus of the Titans' offense has always been centered around the running game, and with a solid offensive line, some new weapons at receiver to help spread the field and the speed and field vision to take it to the house every time he touches the ball, the player that many Titans fans affectionately refer to as "Twitch" has a chance to not only go down as one of the greatest Titans running backs ever, but possibly one of the league's best. I recently got a chance to sit down with the second-year pro and ask him about the upcoming season, his personal goals, his Olympic medal chances and what he hopes his legacy will be once his days in the NFL are over.
Alright, so I didn't really get to interview Johnson (why won't you answer my phone calls Chris?), but here are ten questions I would ask him if I got the chance.
1. Ever since you came into the league you have made it clear how high the expectations for yourself and this team are. They seem to be as high, if not higher, than even the coaches and fans have had. Where does that drive and ambition come from?
2. I've heard you say a number of times this off-season that you wanted to lead the league in rushing in 2009 and win the MVP award. What do you feel you must do to achieve these goals? How do your personal goals fit in with those for the team?
3. The league has now gotten a chance to see what you can do at this level and will most certainly make adjustments. What adjustments will you need to make to stay one step ahead of the much more sophisticated defenses you face in the NFL?
4. With an obvious lack of top talent and depth at the wide receiver position last season, how excited are you about the additions made on offense this off-season? That can only help open things up even more for you, right?
5. LenDale White, you're backfield teammate and the complimentary "Smash" to your "Dash" seemed to take major exception to Carolina Panthers running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart "swagger-jacking" your nickname. You, however, stayed rather mum on the issue. Is there anything you would like to say now to those guys in Carolina? I mean seriously, they totally ripped you and LenDale off.
6. Beyonce, Keri Hilson or Rhianna?
7. Speaking of, umm... music, what would we currently find playing on your iPod?
8. I read on your Wikipedia page that at one point, you had "the second fastest 100m time in the nation behind 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix". You're not just football fast, you're like world class fast. Did you ever consider going the track route, or did you always want to play professional football? How many, if any, guys in the league do you think could run you down from behind in the open field?
10. After that painful post-season loss at home to the Ravens last year, this Titans team seems poised and experienced enough to make a deep run into the playoffs this year. What are your realistic expectations for this season? Would anything less than a Super Bowl victory be considered a failure?
BONUS QUESTION!!!: When all is said and done Chris, what do you want your legacy, both on and off the field, to be?
Thanks for your time Chris and on behalf of all Titans fans everywhere, thank you for being such a bad dude. Best of luck this upcoming season and Titan Up!