Johnson Defending His Follow up to his 2K Season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -Chris Johnson isn't afraid to let people know that he's had a pretty good season.

Johnson's 2010 totals of 1,325 yards pales compared to last year's 2,006-yard season and is barely more than half of the 2,500-yard total the Tennessee Titans running back predicted for himself this preseason.

Nonetheless, Johnson says he has had a pretty good year.

"I think everybody considered this season a failure for me. If any other back in the league had for 1,300 or 1,400 yards, they'd say he had a great year,'' Johnson said. "I guess they're putting me at a higher standard than everybody else.''

Indeed, Johnson set the bar high after becoming on the sixth man in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard plateau in 2009 in a performance dubbed "CJ2K.''
In comparison to the first five players to reach that mark, Johnson has the second-highest follow-up season in terms of yards. Only Barry Sanders, who ran for 2,053 yards in 1997, fared better than Johnson. Sanders ran for 1,491 yards the next season.

With one final game in Indianapolis (9-6) on Sunday, Johnson needs 167 yards to better Sanders' 2000-yard encore. Johnson's season-high was 142 yards in the season opener.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher defended the season Johnson is having.

"I think if you go back and look at those backs who had 2,000-yard seasons and look at what happened the year after, the high expectations are always there the year after. But I think CJ is probably ahead of any of those backs who had 2,000 yards,'' Fisher said. "The expectations were there, it just didn't happen. He's still a terrific back and a big part of our offense.''

Though he only appeared on the injury report with a thigh injury for a few weeks in the middle of the season, Johnson has been a bit less healthy this season, according to right tackle David Stewart.

"He's been banged up a little bit, but he's doing his job,'' Stewart said.

He may have failed to live up to the predictions, but Johnson said he didn't believe his preseason predictions of rushing breaking Eric Dickerson's NFL mark of 2,105 yards rushing and talk of 2,500 yards made him a target. He said the bull's eye was already in place thanks to what he did in 2009.

"When I rushed for 2,000 yards, I put a target on my back. So if I'd said that or not, it was still going to be the same way,'' Johnson said.

Johnson still is the third-leading rusher in the NFL, though he is only a first alternate selection to the Pro Bowl. After being voted to the AFC Pro Bowl roster his first two seasons, he thinks being snubbed this year is "bogus.''

He has a league-best eight 100-yard rushing games this season with more rushing yards than any NFC back, though he is behind Houston's Arian Foster and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles in the AFC. The Titans being 6-9 likely didn't help.

"I wouldn't say it was a season like last year, but I still feel like I had a good year,'' Johnson said. "I don't think you ask anybody that was the third-leading rusher if they had a bad season, they'd be getting a lot of praise right now. You look at the three guys to go to the Pro Bowl on the NFC side, nobody is saying they had a disappointing season.''

NOTES: DE William Hayes returned to practice Thursday after being cleared from the concussion he suffered when hit in the forehead by a ball Kerry Collins was throwing out of bounds last week. ... WR Damian Williams was excused from practice but is expected back Friday.

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