The Tennessee Titans are still very aware that Chris Johnson , when healthy, is the best offensive player they have. But they need to keep him healthy, so offensive coordinator Chris Palmer thinks the days when Johnson could handle 400-450 touches over a full season -- like back in 2009 -- are long gone.
"To say you're going to get a guy 25 touches a game is pushing it," Palmer told The Tennessean. "That's 400 touches over the course of a season. He's certainly capable of that, but what does it mean for the team? Does it help us win?"
Of course, Johnson isn't exactly fond of what this could mean for him.
"If I only touch the ball an average of 10 or 15 times, that's really not going to do anything for us," he said. "We're not going to be able to have a good offense if the running game is not up to par."
Palmer also said that in an ideal world, he would like to implement a 55-45 run-to-pass split. But he said he wouldn't shy away from a 60-40 split or higher, in favor of passing, depending on the score.
A quick point: No one in the league averaged 25 touches per game last year. Maurice Jones-Drew led all players with 386 touches. Ray Rice had 367. This is not really about Johnson reaching 400 touches, because I'm sure his fantasy owners would be plenty pleased if he reached the 340-350 level. This is about how the Titans want to direct their offense. They may want to pass the ball more often this season, but that could be difficult to do given what they've got at quarterback and considering their top wideout is coming back from a major knee injury and is no lock to play in week 1. If Johnson keeps himself in top shape and runs with determination, he'll produce just fine. He's still an RB1. Use his 2010 numbers as a guideline when thinking about drafting him. He's definitely not the same running back from that crazy 2009 season, and he never will be again.