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Jets don't see RB Johnson as workhorse

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 26 2014 10:42:27 AM CDT
Chris Johnson

Doug Benz/ Reuters

New York Jets running back Chris Johnson is not the same player when he rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 2009, so the team plans to mix it up in the backfield to keep him fresh.

Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn conceded the team will use Johnson judiciously.

"He's got some miles on him," Lynn said, according to The Star-Ledger. "So we're going to have to be strategic in how we use him, and when we use him, to keep him fresh so that he can be the explosive guy that I know that he can be."

When the Jets signed Johnson, they envisioned him as a big-play threat to pair with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell when the offense slows to coach Rex Ryan's preferred "ground and pound" approach of relying on power running to move the chains and wear down opponents.

Lynn said the Jets plan to incorporate Johnson into a rotation with Ivory and Powell, who nearly evenly split the bulk of the team's carries a year ago (182 for Ivory, 176 for Powell) and combined for 1,530 yards on the ground.

Johnson, who turns 29 in September, was a workhorse with the Tennessee Titans. Last season, he had 279 carries and 42 catches (on 51 targets), and no other Titans running back had more than 77 carries and six catches.

Johnson had surgery in January to repair a torn meniscus, and his recovery kept him out of organized team activities and limited him to individual and position drills during last week's minicamp.

"This year, it's about winning," Johnson said after signing with the Jets. "I want to come into a program where I think we could win. And if that's what the coach feels we (have to do to) win, then that's what we have to do."

Lynn said the addition of Johnson gives the Jets' backfield lots of options.

"I really like the versatility; it'll really gives you the opportunity to do more things to attack the defense," Lynn told the newspaper. "So with Chris' skill-set, combined with Chris Ivory's power-running game, and Bilal Powell's more of a combination of both, it's a really good quality to have in the room."