2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans focus on run game to boost offense, team

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-05-08 16:36

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans want to get back to what they used to do best, and that's run the football.

Under a mandate from the general manager and head coach, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has put together a playbook designed to make the most of a revamped offensive line, Chris Johnson and his new backup, Shon Greene.

That should help ease the growing pains for quarterback Jake Locker in his third season and boost an offense last in the league in time of possession. The Titans haven't ranked in the league's top 10 for running the ball since 2009 when Johnson ran for 2,006 yards.

``We want to be able to run the ball when we want to and when we need to,'' Loggains said Tuesday.

General manager Ruston Webster revamped the offensive line, making the Titans bigger and hopefully much better with three free agents, including new left guard Andy Levitre. He signed Greene to work with Johnson and drafted guard Chance Warmack at 10 overall in the draft. Loggains, promoted to coordinator with five games left last season, put together his own playbook with the emphasis on running first.

The design is to help the Titans stay on the field longer than the 27 minutes, 18 seconds they managed in 2012 while going 6-10.

Johnson likes what he sees so far and believes it will help him be more effective.

``I can say that because last year ... we basically were trying to turn into like a passing team,'' Johnson said. ``Coming in this year, it's going to be a run-first offense.''

Between 2006 and 2009 when head coach Mike Munchak was the team's offensive line coach, the Titans ranked no worse than seventh in rushing offense in the NFL. That includes Johnson's rookie season in 2008 on a team that went 13-3 when he split carries with LenDale White and 2009 when Johnson became the sixth man to run for at least 2,000 yards in a season.

Tennessee slipped to 17th in 2010, 31st in 2011 and managed a rebound to 21st last season despite losing four starting offensive linemen to injuries.

Now running is such a big focus for the Titans that Loggains said it's what they talked about first in the offense's initial meeting this offseason. They just started walking through some of the playbook Monday in the latest phase of the offseason program.

Even with the signing of Greene, Johnson remains the Titans' franchise running back. He ranked fifth in the AFC and ninth in the league in 2012 running for 1,243 yards for the third-best season of his career. Only Adrian Peterson reached 6,000 yards rushing in fewer games (63) than Johnson (70). Eric Dickerson, LaDanian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Earl Campbell and Walter Payton ran for more during their first five seasons than Johnson (6,888).

Johnson also ranks fifth with 8,546 yards from scrimmage in his first five seasons, and that's why Loggains wants to move the running back around a bit more. Johnson has 230 career receptions for 1,658 yards but caught only 36 passes last season.

``We need to get him the ball,'' Loggains said.

The challenge will come later this season splitting up the carries between Johnson, who wants the ball as much as possible, and Greene, who ran for 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns with the Jets in 2012. Loggains describes the 5-foot-11, 226-pound Greene as a ``change-of-pace'' back and won't put a number on how many carries either Johnson or Greene might wind up with per game.

``We're going to try to use both their strengths as much as possible,'' Loggains said.

Johnson seems to have his own ideas as a three-time Pro Bowl running back.

``Everybody needs a backup running back,'' Johnson said. ``I'm sure they've seen a lot of good things in (Greene), and hopefully he can come in and help this team.''

The Titans averaged 137.4 yards rushing per game in 2008 when they earned home-field advantage for the playoffs after a 10-0 start. Johnson now sees a roster possibly as talented as that group from his rookie year. But Johnson, who said Munchak talked to him about being more of a leader both on and off the field going into his sixth season, isn't making any predictions.

Not even about how many yards rushing he wants this season.

``I feel like things we have done gave us a chance to take the next step,'' Johnson said. ``Like I been saying, we still got a lot of work to do. Everything looks good on paper. We still have to go out and work hard and prove it on Sunday.''

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group