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NFL: Titans Chris Johnson spreads blame for inept running game

Published September 20, 2012 11:49 pm

NFL notes • Line not opening holes, star running back says.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chris Johnson doesn't believe he is solely to blame for the Tennessee Titans' rushing woes.

Johnson, a former 2,000-yard rusher, heads into Sunday's game with the Detroit Lions having gained only 21 yards on 19 carries.

"Even when I went for 2,000, I didn't think I was perfect, but I wouldn't sit here and say I'm to blame," Johnson said Thursday. "I'm only going to be as good as my line is going to be. We've got to work together and get better."

Johnson said he knows he's an easy target because of the running game's struggles and the $53 million contract extension he signed last year. Johnson said he hadn't noticed on tape any big run opportunities that he had missed so far.

"I'm the highest-paid guy on this team, so of course I get the criticism," Johnson said. "But it's something I don't let get me down."

Titans coach Mike Munchak called the ineffectiveness of the running game a team problem rather than a Johnson problem or an offensive line problem Johnson rushed for 17 yards on eight carries last week in a 38-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

"It's a team effort when things are not going well," Munchak said. "If it was one thing, we'd make an adjustment to that one thing. We're just going to have to plow ahead this weekend, and hopefully we'll get a lot more opportunities than eight to hand the ball off."

Munchak said he won't make any lineup changes for now to address the Titans' inability to run the ball.

Around the league

Broncos • Denver will induct former receiver Rod Smith into the team's Ring of Fame at halftime of Sunday's game against Houston. Smith, undrafted coming out of Missouri Southern, finished his career in 2006 as the team's all-time leading receiver.

Jets • Cornerback Darrelle Revis was cleared Thursday for contact in practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in the team's season opener. Revis says he will play Sunday at Miami.

Cardinals • Quarterback John Skelton (sprained ankle) returned to practice on Thursday, though it's unclear whether he will be ready to play against Philadelphia on Sunday. Skelton beat out Kevin Kolb as Arizona's starter in a tight preseason race, but sprained his ankle in the Cardinals' opener against Seattle. —

Week 3 schedule

Thursday

• N.Y. Giants 36, Carolina 7

Sunday

• Tampa Bay at Dallas, 11 a.m.

• St. Louis at Chicago, 11 a.m.

• San Francisco at Minnesota, 11 a.m., Ch. 13

• Detroit at Tennessee, 11 a.m.

• Kansas City at New Orleans, 11 a.m.

• Cincinnati at Washington, 11 a.m., Ch. 2

• N.Y. Jets at Miami, 11 a.m.

• Buffalo at Cleveland, 11 a.m.

• Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 11 a.m.

• Philadelphia at Arizona, 2:05 p.m.

• Atlanta at San Diego, 2:05 p.m.

• Pittsburgh at Oakland, 2:25 p.m.

• Houston at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2

• New England at Baltimore, 6:20 p.m., Ch. 5

Monday

• Green Bay at Seattle, 6:30 p.m., ESPN