Titans' Chris Johnson Had a Bad Day in Preseason Week 1

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

Johnson showed little inclination to follow his fullback
Johnson showed little inclination to follow his fullbackSteven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome to "Had a Bad Day," a weekly feature where we look at the tape on someone who struggled the previous week.

Up first is Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans.

Johnson posted just eight yards on five carries and was targeted on three passes, all of which fell incomplete.

Let's look at each play for Johnson to figure out what went wrong.

Play 1: Johnson right for -3 yards

Johnson never really has a chance on his first carry of the game. Right guard Leroy Harris gets destroyed, and Johnson has nowhere to go but down.

Play 2: Johnson right for 9 yards

The Titans attempt to run off tackle to the left, and Harris pulls to block for Johnson, sealing the edge. Quinn Johnson, the fullback, is slow pulling around to help. Harris makes a lousy block, and Quinn never gets in position, forcing Chris Johnson back to his right.

The entire defense is sliding left, and when Johnson changes directions, a huge hole opens on the right edge for a nice gain.

Play 3: Johnson left for 1 yard

Johnson looks to have a hole outside left as the fullback heads around the left tackle to seal an edge. Johnson appears to miss the hole, instead darting inside into the waiting arms of a linebacker. He fights off the tackle to get back past the line of scrimmage but gains little on the play.

Play 4: Incomplete pass to Johnson

Johnson is open in the flat, but Matt Hasselbeck's pass is tipped. The ball lands at Johnson's feet. It doesn't appear he makes much effort to catch it, short of reaching out for the ball. He slides a couple of feet to his right but looks disinterested in making the play.

Play 5: Incomplete pass to Johnson

Johnson drops a short pass from Matt Hasselbeck. There's nothing to analyze here. Johnson just doesn't catch the ball.

Play 6: Johnson up the middle for 2 yards

Johnson takes a handoff headed left, but he ignores the hole, cuts up inside and gets little yardage. Honestly, there's not much there in either direction. Johnson might not have picked up any more yardage had he hit what appeared to be the original hole.

Play 7: Johnson right, middle and left for -2

This play is designed to flow to the right, but Johnson decides to cut it up inside. There's nothing there, so he eludes a tackle and bounces left, only to be swarmed under for a loss.

Honestly, I have no explanation for this run. He has a hole and the blocking looks set up, but he cut up inside for reasons I can't fathom.

Play 8: Incomplete pass to Johnson

On 3rd-and-20, Jake Locker dumps a screen off to Johnson, who lets the ball slide through his hands.


There's not much good to say about this performance. It wasn't all Johnson's fault, but it seemed like after he had a successful run early by going off book and not following his blockers, he tried to repeat the process a couple of other times for losses.

I hate to try and play junior psychologist with players, and I'm sure Johnson was not actually disinterested in the passes thrown his way, but he certainly gave off that impression.

For all the talk about how the Titans want to use Johnson in the passing game, he didn't get off to finest of starts.

If you have to have a Bad Day, it ought to at least be in preseason. Let's hope Johnson doesn't make another appearance here for a long time.