Tennessee Titans Running Back Breakdown: Evaluation and Depth Chart Analysis
Last season the running game could not be relied upon, and it was a major factor into why the Titans slid to a 6-10 record.
For 2013 the running back situation seems to be a little bit more balanced to help out Jake Locker at quarterback.
Here's the breakdown at running back in the middle of the offseason.
It's already a foregone conclusion that Chris Johnson will be the first option at running back entering the regular season, but that's not to say Shonn Greene couldn't overtake him at some point.
Johnson definitely has to be more reliable next season to keep Greene from stealing a good chunk of snaps.
How consistent Johnson is will have a lot do with how successful the Titans will be on offense. He has to drastically decrease the number of times he goes for negative yards.
Johnson knows he has to really bring it in 2013 and silence all of the critics that have jumped on him as of late. He really seems to be preparing this offseason with a chip on his shoulder for several reasons, and that's a positive thing.
Expect Johnson to bounce back in a big way and have his strongest season since his 2,000-yard season in 2009, and that should make all Titans fans pretty excited.
The addition of Shonn Greene in free agency was a big surprise this offseason, but it was a smart move to balance out this rushing attack.
Jamie Harper just couldn't fulfill that role of being a bruiser to help out Johnson, and for that he was released just a few weeks ago.
Greene isn't even a minor threat to leap frog Johnson on the depth chart, but he is going to see plenty of touches to make this a successful run-first type of team.
One area the Titans should instantly improve upon with Greene's presence in the backfield is time of possession. The Titans were dead last in time of possession last season, and Greene should help the Titans eat up tough yards and hold onto the football.
It's also good to know the Titans have a solid player to turn to if Johnson does happen to struggle. Greene proved while with the Jets that he's capable of being the No.1 guy, but obviously that would be a worst-case scenario for this Titans team.
The main value of Darius Reynaud, and the reason why he was brought back, is his value as a kick returner.
Reynaud averaged just a shade over two yards a carry last season.
If the Titans have to end up turning to Reynaud as a rusher, then something will have to seriously go wrong with both Johnson and Greene.
For the sake of Mike Munchak's job security, that hopefully won't happen.
Reynaud is officially the third option at running back, but he won't have very many carries as long as injuries don't plague the unit.
This was an interesting pickup by the Titans this offseason, and Jalen Parmele could definitely end up being a modest contributor in 2013.
After all, the Titans have made it very clear that they want to be a run-first offense. That leaves the door open for a third running back to get a few touches from time to time.
Parmele got a late opportunity to produce with the Jaguars last season and did a decent job for an offense that was in shambles.
Parmele is basically the replacement for Jamie Harper, and the two running backs are very different. Parmele also figures to be a special teams contributor, which may have been why the Titans saw more value in him than Harper.
Collin Mooney is more of a fullback, but he was inserted as a running back in the season finale against the Jaguars that ended in a meaningless win.
In that game, Mooney had 19 yards on two carries. He ran the ball hard and should get an opportunity to show what he's worth even more in the preseason.
Mooney will have to prove his worth in training camp to keep from being cut, but he should find a spot on this roster when it's all said and done.
Don't expect Mooney to do much on the field unless it's at fullback, even though he is officially listed as a running back on the Titans official website.