Next up on our trip around the Titans position by position as we approach the start of the 2010 season is offensive tackle.
It's been true for the past couple seasons and should be true for the next couple seasons as well: barring injury, we know who the Titans' starting left and right tackles will be, and we can have confidence that Michael Roos and David Stewart are probably going to be pretty good. The bad news is, well, that barring injury caveat.
Draft Day 2010 ushered in the arrival of several new members of the Tennessee Titans.
The majority of the picks (6 of 9) were devoted towards addressing needs on the defensive side of the football. First-round DE Derrick Morgan was added to replenish the cupboard left a bit bare due to the departures of veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse. Another pressing need (PR/KR) was taken care of via the selections of 3rd rounder Damian Williams and Marc Mariani in the 7th round.
As we approach the start of training camp, let's take a look at the rookies who will have the best chance of having an impact during their inaugural seasons as Tennessee Titans.
Never being afraid to sound a sour note, one of my concerns about Chris Johnson ever since his first big preseason performance against the Rams has been whether or not he can run the ball with consistent success. He's a boom-and-bust type runner and, as I wrote the week after that Rams preseason game, when boom-and-bust runners don't go boom enough, they're not very valuable.
Those of you who've purchased Football Outsiders Almanac 2010 (now available on Amazon!) may have noticed a nifty table showing the 10 teams since 1996 with the most Open Field Yards, the average yards per carry by a running back on gains beyond 10 yards. The other 9 teams on that list saw their Open Field Yards decline by at least 0.4 yards per carry and by an average of 0.65 yards per carry. Basically, expect CJ to go boom less often in 2009 than he did in 2010.
If CJ does go boom less often, he needs to have that more consistent success. And, one point in common between 2008 and 2009, was that he didn't have consistent success. Using Success Rate, which measures how often a running back to 40% of the needed yardage on first down, 60% of the needed yardage on second down, and 100% on third and fourth down, Johnson ranked 34th of 49 running backs in 2008 and 32nd of 50 in 2009. During 2008, though, I wrote that his low ranking compared to White (who finished 2008 4th of 49) was misleading because of the distribution of carries, and thought it was a good time to carry that analysis through for the rest of 2008 and also look at 2009.
As Andrew mentioned, it's good to see Chris Johnson and the Titans reached at least a compromise solution, and CJ2K will be in camp when it opens at the end of this month.
The details of the deal are starting to emerge a bit, as Andrew Brandt of NFP wrote this morning about the 2012 incentives CJ has reached based on his performance the first two years. In that piece, Brandt speculated a potential deal would be based on the $1.25 million CJ has reached, plus a more to bump him over $2 million in total compensation for this year.
Since then, though, PFT has reported that Brandt's speculation was wrong. In fact, CJ's contract bump was merely moving forward the $1.25 million he has already earned from 2012 to this year. Between that $1.25 million, reportedly paid as a signing bonus, and his $550,000 base salary, CJ will make $1.8 million in total compensation this year. That's a far cry from the $30-40 million in guaranteed money he said he was looking for, but still not quite chicken feed.