2015 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

Kirk CousinsAug 31 09:32a

Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Robert Griffin III, according to a source.

Ryan BroylesAug 31 09:12a

Detroit Lions WR Ryan Broyles was cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Gerell RobinsonAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Kevin ConeAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

LaRon ByrdAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

David PaulsonAug 31 08:42a

San Diego Chargers TE David Paulson, QB Chase Rettig, TE Logan Stokes, WR Titus Davis and RB Jahwan Edwards were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Daniel ThomasAug 31 08:32a

Chicago Bears RB Daniel Thomas, TE Kevin Greene, WR Jeremy Kelley, WR Levi Norwood and TE Chris Pantale were cut Sunday, Aug. 30. WR John Chiles (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Menelik WatsonAug 31 08:22a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson (Achilles') said on Twitter that he is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Vaughn MartinAug 31 05:22a

Kansas City Chiefs CB Aaron Hester was among 11 players cut by the team on the weekend of Aug. 30-31. Other players included WR Kenny Cook, T Anthony Dima, [ More ]

Amari CooperAug 31 12:02a

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper had four catches for 62 yards in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 30.

Brandon BostickAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut TE Brandon Bostick Sunday, Aug. 30.

Joe BanyardAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut RB Joe Banyard Sunday, Aug. 30.

Tim JenningsAug 30 07:22p

The Chicago Bears have released CB Tim Jennings Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a source informed of the team's plans.

Randall CobbAug 30 04:42p

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) has been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, after undergoing further tests Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a [ More ]

Tandon DossAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Jeff TuelAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Saalim HakimAug 30 01:52p

New York Jets WR Saalim Hakim, WR Austin Hill, WR Jonathon Rumph and TE Matt LaCosse were released Sunday, Aug. 30.

Sam BradfordAug 30 10:12a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns during the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Saturday, Aug. 29. [ More ]

Joique BellAug 30 10:02a

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') has ramped up his return-to-play workouts in recent weeks and said he is 'getting close.' Head coach Jim Caldwell said Bell looks [ More ]

Denard RobinsonAug 29 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson might be the Jaguars' starting running back to start the season, according to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com.

Stevie BrownAug 29 01:22p

Houston Texans SS Stevie Brown was released Saturday, Aug. 29.

Andre BranchAug 29 12:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Andre Branch (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss significant time.

James DevelinAug 29 10:12a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots FB James Develin (leg) suffered a broken tibia during the third preseason game Friday, Aug. 28, according to a source. It is [ More ]

Matthew StaffordAug 29 09:52a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 11-for-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday, Aug. 28.

Blake BortlesAug 29 12:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for 35 yards in a 22-17 loss to the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 29 12:02a

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith went 16 of 18 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-10 win over the Tennessee Titans in the preseason Friday, Aug. 28.

Darren McFaddenAug 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle will share reps with RB Darren McFadden and RB Lance Dunbar because the Cowboys 'intend to take a committee approach,' according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bishop SankeyAug 28 01:22p

Updating previous reports, Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey has impressed his coaches with improvement this preseason. 'I think Bishop made significant improvement last week in practices as far as [ More ]

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

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