Tennessee Titans: Why Javon Ringer Needs to Start over Chris Johnson

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIOctober 31, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 30:  Javon Ringer #21 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball while defended by Joe Lefeged #35 of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL game at LP Field on October 30, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Everyone knows that Tennessee's rushing attack has been abysmal. Whether you blame the offensive line, Chris Johnson or the Titans coaching staff, it's been bad.

However, numbers don't lie. Here's a number; 176,000. What is that? That's the number of dollars the Titans are paying Chris Johnson for every yard he has rushed this season.

That's right, after being given a contract worth over 53 million dollars, Chris Johnson has accumulated in half a season what some running backs get in two games (302 yards).

This last week, against the Colts, Chris Johnson had to play second fiddle, and Javon Ringer finally got a chance to shine. Ringer rushed 14 times for 60 yards. In comparison, Johnson rushed 14 times for 34 yards.

In fact, Chris Johnson has only exceeded the 60-yard mark once, and it was against the Browns, who have the sixth lowest ranked rush defense in the NFL. Johnson also had nine more carries in that game than Ringer did in this one.

If you take Ringer's average from this game and give him the same number of carries that Johnson had in the game against the Browns, you get 98.7 yards. That's less than two yards short of Johnson's best effort this season.

Ringer has had better yards per carry numbers than Johnson nearly the whole season, but this is the first time he's had an opportunity to work as a premiere back.

There are other upsides to starting Ringer as well. For starters, he's sturdier than Chris Johnson.

Chris Johnson is about two inches taller than Javon Ringer, but Ringer outweighs him by 16 pounds. That additional muscle makes it easier for Ringer to handle getting hit by linebackers and defensive linemen 30 times a game.

After all, that was one of the concerns with Chris Johnson. Not everyone was sure he was sturdy enough to take that kind of punishment as an every down back and continue to perform at a high level.

Now, to take the bad with the good, the Colts have the second worst rush defense in the NFL, so Javon Ringer's success has to be tempered against that. Still, Chris Johnson faced the same defense and didn't have the same success, so regardless of where you place the blame for Tennessee's lackluster rush, it's clear that Ringer is a better option than Johnson.

In the NFL, the general practice is that if you out perform the guy in front of you consistently, you get the start. The Titans ought to follow that tradition and start Javon Ringer.