Aaron Rodgers runs the offensive show for the Green Bay Packers but they didn't win the Super Bowl without a running game. Could their front office take a calculated gamble to get Chris Johnson from the Tennessee Titans?
Johnson not taking the blame for his fall from NFL supremacy
There was a time when "CJ2K" struck fear into defenses across the NFL. Not only was Chris Johnson the fastest running back in football, his ability to catch the ball and run between the tackles turned him into the best offensive weapon in the league. That was why he amassed over 2,500 yards in 2009. Since then it hasn't gone as Tennessee Titans fans had hoped. Their star back has dealt with injuries and hurt his progress by staging a long holdout last season. When he finally got his money he came back without an offseason and posted the worst numbers of his career since he became a starter. This season hasn't gone any better and Johnson isn't taking the blame. He believes it's a problem with him and his offensive line not playing in sync. Head coach Mike Munchak refused to point fingers but the problems are there. Running backs don't make that much money if they don't put up numbers and the Titans won't keep Johnson around if he keeps slipping. Given their roster issues that move may come sooner than later.
Greg Jennings and James Jones both becoming expendable
Green Bay hasn't worried about running the football for years. Their wide receiver corps is the best in the NFL with Pro Bowlers like Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson. Throw in Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and no coach in his right mind would want to keep the ball on the ground. The problem is having no running game at all actually hurts even the best offenses. In 2010 the Packers had one of their better stretches of rushing with James Starks through the playoffs. That and some big throws by Rodgers won them a championship. Things have changed though. Green Bay has relied on veteran Cedric Benson for their carries but has not become the best fit. The Packers offense has scored only 30 combined points in their first two games as defenses adjust to their explosive passing attack. Benson is in on a one-year deal and next season both he and top receiver Greg Jennings could leave. Green Bay could always use the franchise tag to keep him but it won't solve their money issues with so many contract problems coming in 2014 and 2015. That is where the Titans come in. Their receivers suffer from a mix of rough injuries to off-the-field issues. It has hurt the development of quarterback Jake Locker. It's interesting to wonder if the Packers might deal Jennings or even the inconsistent James Jones for CJ2K. The potential payoff is amazing. Johnson is only 26 years old. His skill set would meld perfectly in their offense and in return the Titans get a polished receiver and perhaps a draft pick.
Greg Jennings wants to stay with the Green Bay Packers but they can't ignore their money and roster problems. Good as they are they still need an explosive rushing attack. If the Tennessee Titans reach their boiling point with Chris Johnson, a trade could help both teams.
Photo Credit: Clare Farnsworth