clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chris Johnson: Reduced Role Hasn't Reinvigorated Career

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big hopes for Chris Johnson when the Jets signed him was that a reduced role would give new life to his legs. For the first time in his career, Johnson was not going to have to carry the load in the backfield. Perhaps this would keep him fresh and allow him to regain the explosive form that had been steadily fading through the years.

Johnson's official stat line might indicate positive news on that front. 643 yards on 145 carries is a solid 4.4 average. I think this stat line is deceptive, though. In over half of his games, Johnson has failed to reach even the poor 3.5 yards per carry threshold. In the other games, he has rarely looked like a difference maker. The first game against Miami might be the exception. Johnson has fluctuated between looking functional and being extremely ineffective.

One of the most telling signs is the lack of big plays produced by Johnson. Perhaps more than anything, the Jets signed him to create game-changing the plays, the type for which Johnson's trademark speed has made him famous.

Have fresh legs made Johnson more apt to pop big runs? In a word, no. His decline since his monster 2009 season continued his year.

Season Total Carries % of carries resulting in 15+ yard gain
2009 358 8.3
2010 316 6.3
2011 262 6.1
2012 276 5
2013 279 5
2014 144 4.1

*Numbers crunched from Pro Football Focus

Tack on a scant 23 receptions for 154 yards and a single touchdown, and you have a signing that simply did not pan out.