Tennessee Titans Positional Review: RB/FB

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by TitanJeff, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

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    This is the second in a series looking at each position.

    Chris Johnson
    2013 Stats: 279 carries for 1,077 yards. 3.9 ypc avg. 6 TDs. Long 30T. 42 receptions for 345 yards. 8.2 ypr avg. 4 TDs. Long 66T. 3 Fum.

    Contract Status: CJ has a $10M cap hit next season with a $8M base. There would be $4M in dead money if he is released.

    2013 Analysis: CJ finished 11th in rushing yards among NFL RBs. However, his 3.9 yards per carry ranked 32nd.

    CJ had more carries in '13 than he did in '12 but 166 fewer rushing yards and the worse yards per carry average of his career. However, he did see more production as a receiver than he did last season.

    A telling stat is that he only had five carries for more than 20 yards (17th ranked) which continues a steady decline in that category since '09 when he had 22 carries of 20 yards or more.

    A few other interesting stats is that he was the least productive from a yards per carry standpoint after his 20th carry (3.3 ypc avg) which is a dramatic drop from season's past.

    Before the Oakland game, CJ was averaging only 1.16 yards after contact. That ranked him 46th at the time. I was unable to find more current stats to see if that stat was improved later in the season.

    2014 Outlook: CJ has already said he would not take a pay cut or a reduced role which makes it unlikely he's on the roster in 2014. However, the parting could happen in a variety of ways:

    1. They could release CJ before March 11 so the team knows it has $6M to add to the pot entering free agency. This is the scenario I believe most likely to play out. Adding Kamerion Wimbley and David Stewart to the mix gives the Titans a whopping $14.8M to play with though there's quite a few holes to fill on the roster. This becomes more important if the Titans are going to make a play to keep Alterraun Verner before he's an UFA.

    2. CJ is released on or just before April 7 when the Titans offseason workouts begin. Remember in '06 how the Titans were unwilling to risk Steve McNair working out because any season-ending injury would require the team to take a $24M cap hit? We know CJ has a clause which pays him to workout with the team but I don't see the Titans willing to risk an injury that would obligate them to pay his 2014 salary. If the Titans thought they maybe wanted to keep him, would they hang onto CJ up to April 7 to pressure him to restructure his contract since most top UFA RBs will be signed by then? I doubt it. Remember, hanging on to CJ after March 11 means the Titans have $6M less during the early part of free agency.

    3. Though unlikely, CJ could be kept until after the draft. This gives Whiz & Co some insurance in case they don't get who they want in free agency or the draft but this would also mean CJ would be allowed to work out with the team and the Titans accepting a $8M risk. The Titans always fill a few holes after the draft with some free agents and would need to sign the draft picks and $6M would certainly cover that if they were to go this route.

    4. Let's go crazy (and say Webster is as well) if the Titans hang onto CJ through training camp until final cuts which further decreases his value to other teams who likely have their RBs already in camp. The advantage here for the Titans is they might be able to get CJ to re-negotiate his deal if Whiz & Co wanted to keep him in a lessor role as fewer teams have the cap to sign him to a big contract at that point. It also gives the Titans more time to evaluate the RB talent they have in camp to be sure they have upgraded the position. The downside is the obvious distraction it'll create and the risk of injury to CJ. I pray to the football gods this doesn't occur.


    Shonn Greene
    2013 Stats: 77 carries for 295 yards. 3.8 ypc avg. 4 TDs. Long 29. 6 receptions for 39 yards. 6.5 ypr avg. 0 TDs. Long 28. 0 Fum.

    Contract Status: Greene has a $2.3M base next season for a total of $3.23M cap hit. Releasing him would create $1.66M in dead money.

    2013 Analysis: It was a very disappointing season for Greene who was injured in just his fourth carry of the season. No doubt a healthy Greene would have had a much bigger role in the Titans offense last season. Upon his return, he was productive in a couple of games but, surprisingly, wasn't as effective a RB in short yardage situations gaining only 0.8 ypc avg in third and less than 2.

    2014 Outlook: Before last season, I think most could see Greene taking on 150-200 carries and putting up 600-800 yards in a split role with CJ. At 29, it's hard to see the Titans looking to make him the feature back entering the season. I think the decision whether or not Greene is the #2 next season is based on who ends up the #1. I suspect Whiz will want to find someone who contrasts with the style of his feature back.


    Jackie Battle
    2013 Stats: 36 carries for 142 yards. 3.9 ypc avg. 1 TD. Long 37. 4 receptions for 36 yards. 9 ypr avg. 0 TDs. Long 24. 0 Fum.

    Contract Status: UFA

    2013 Analysis: Battle raised a few eyebrows by trucking a couple of defenders this season as he stepped in as the #2 after Greene went down but did little else.

    2014 Outlook: Battle won't be on the Titans roster in 2014.


    Collin Mooney
    2013 Stats: 0 carries for 0 yards. 0 ypc avg. 0 TD. Long 0. 6 receptions for 32 yards. 5.3 ypr avg. 0 TDs. Long 22. 0 Fum.

    Contract Status: $495,000 base in 2014.

    2013 Analysis: Was promoted when Quinn Johnson went to IR in training camp. Played in 12 games before a season-ending knee injury. Replaced with Quinn Johnson for the final four games.

    2014 Outlook: I expect an open competition in camp for FB. Mooney should get a shot as will Johnson and possibly an UDFA or late-round pick who is a special teams beast.


    Opinion: This is another interesting situation for GM Ruston Webster and Coach Whisenhunt to work though this offseason. If silence is any indication, CJ is gone and it's only a matter of time.

    IMO, CJ isn't the right RB for the Titans and hasn't been for quite some time. His bread and butter was the long run (20+ yards) and that has diminished from 22 in '09 to 13 in '10, 11 in '11, 8 in '12 to only 5 in '13. Without the big gain potential, he's an average RB getting paid a playmaker's salary.

    I don't question his straight-line speed but his vision to find a seam, burst through the hole, ability to break a tackle and make people miss have clearly diminished over the last few seasons. Though he ran hard in the final two games, it didn't appear to be the case most of the season unless he saw massive holes.

    I won't hold CJ 100% accountable because the OL has struggled at points the last few seasons. No doubt his confidence in the OL was suspect. You can add scheme in the mix as well with OC Dowell Loggains' predictable run game. A parting of ways will likely be best for both CJ and the Titans.

    No doubt Greene was a disappointment last season with the early injury. I don't think he was close to being 100% until after a couple of games back and he still didn't overwhelm with the exception of a 19-carry game in Jacksonville. To his credit, his biggest load was 10 carries until that game. The last two seasons, Greene was most effective after his 20th carry.

    If I am Webster, I go ahead and show CJ the respect of releasing him soon and not allowing the distraction to begin. I go with a RB by committee approach by bringing in an affordable free agent like a Toby Gerhart, Rashard Jennings or James Starks to add depth and then look to draft a RB in the fourth or fifth round. There's even the chance of striking gold with a UDFA as they did Legarrette Blount.

    Thoughts?

    :runhills:
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  2. The Hammer

    The Hammer Straight Ridah

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    Oh this is going to be a long thread for sure.

    I think an RB would be perfect in the second round . After :cj: is cut of course :stirpot:

    Here are some reviews by Walter:

    http://walterfootball.com/draft2014RB.php

      1. Ka'Deem Carey*, RB, Arizona
        Height: 5-10. Weight: 196.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

        2/1/14: Carey was suspended for the first game of the 2013 season, but was red hot after returning to the lineup. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry on the year for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. Carey also caught 26 passes for 173 yards and a score. The junior exceeded 100 yards rushing in every game in this season - excluding that week he was suspended - with a 232-yard total against Utah. Carey recorded 132 yards on 30 carries against Washington and scored four touchdowns against Colorado. His most impressive performance was 206 yards on 48 carries and four touchdowns versus Oregon.

        Carey is a quick slashing back who routinely rips off yards in big chunks. If he were a little bigger and didn't have off-the-field concerns, he would be a first-round pick.

        8/3/13: Carey took college football by storm in 2012 as he led the nation in rushing with 1,929 yards and an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Carey scored 23 touchdowns on the ground. He hauled in 36 receptions for 303 yards and a score, too.

        Carey ran for 425 yards and six touchdowns with 15 receptions for 203 yards and two scores in 2011. The freshman was just used as a backup

        Carey is a slasher who has nice quickness and a burst to get into the second level. While he isn't a big back, he has some physicality to him and can pick up yards after contact. Carey had a number of big runs after breaking a tackle in the first 10 yards. He isn't a burner back, so defensive backs can catch him from behind.

        If Carey can add 10-20 pounds while maintaining his speed, it could help his draft stock.

        Personal: Son of Tisha and Jack Carey.


      1. Carlos Hyde*, RB, Ohio State
        Height: 6-0. Weight: 242.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

        2/1/14: Hyde was suspended for the first three games of the 2013 season. After returning to the lineup for the Buckeyes, he ran over the Big Ten. Hyde had huge games against Northwestern (26-168), Iowa (24-149) and Purdue (16-147). Against Illinois, he was completely dominant. Hyde totaled 247 yards on 24 carries with four touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, he had two receptions for 26 yards and a score.

        The powerful Hyde is a one-cut downhill runner who can pick up yards after contact. He looks like he has the burst and the quickness to hit the hole before it closes in the NFL. Hyde didn't look slow in his final collegiate season. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 1,521 yards with 15 touchdowns. Hyde also had 16 receptions for 147 yards and three scores through the air.

        8/3/13: Hyde was bumped down the rankings some because of off-the-field issues. He was a named a person of interest in a reported assault of a woman at a Columbus bar, but police have stated that Hyde won't be charged with a crime. Head coach Urban Meyer had suspended Hyde from all team activities, but one can safety assume that Hyde will be reinstated. It remains to be seen if Ohio State will suspend him from any games to open the season for this brush up. The incident will still start up off-the-field questions with NFL scouts.

        Hyde is a big, downhill, power back. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012. Hyde is a good short-yardage and goal-line back, but may not have enough speed for the next level. He is very tough to bring down and constantly runs through tackles. For the NFL, Hyde should trim down to get quicker.

        Personal: Majoring in criminology. Son of Dermida Hyde and Carlos Britton.
      1. Tre Mason*, RB, Auburn
        Height: 5-10. Weight: 196.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

        2/1/14: Auburn made it to the National Championship Game in large part because of Mason. He had monster performances against Alabama (29-164-1) and Missouri (46-304-4). Mason showed real speed to break off long runs. He also runs with excellent body lean and pad level to pick up yards after contact.

        In 2013, Mason averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,816 yards with 23 touchdowns. He also had 12 receptions for 163 yards. Mason turned in a huge game against Texas A&M (27-178) to lead Auburn to a road upset. He also played well against LSU and Georgia. Mason has showed a nice mix of quickness, cutting ability and vision. He has nose for the end zone.

        8/3/13: Mason was one of the few bright spots in Auburn's dismal 2012 season. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry on his way to 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns. Mason is a smaller back and may not have the size to be a feature back in the NFL.

        Personal: Majoring in business. Son of Vincent and Tina Mason.
      1. Bishop Sankey*, RB, Washington
        Height: 5-10. Weight: 200.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

        2/1/14: Sankey was one of the best backs in college football in 2013. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the year for 1,775 yards with 18 touchdowns. The junior also tracked down 25 receptions for 298 yards and another score. Sankey ran really well against Stanford and Oregon, though he did have a fumble against the Ducks. Sankey is a tough back who has excellent balance, vision, cutting ability and can pick up yards after contact.

        8/3/13: The Huskies didn't have the 2012 season they had hoped to have, but Sankey was the bright spot as he had an excellent year replacing Chris Polk as the feature back. Sankey averaged five yards per carry and totaled 1,439 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2012. He also caught 33 passes for 249 yards. Sankey ended the season in impressive fashion with 205 yards on 30 carries against Boise State. The toughest defense he saw all season was Stanford, yet he gained 144 yards on 20 carries.

        Sankey is a well-balanced runner. He has quickness, strength, toughness and receiving ability. If Sankey can add some weight, it would help his draft stock.
      1. Lache Seastrunk*, RB, Baylor
        Height: 5-10. Weight: 210.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

        2/1/14: Seastrunk started the 2013 season on fire before cooling down. He ran for 1,117 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 158 carries (7.4 average). The junior was injured against Oklahoma and missed the games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The big knock on Seastrunk will be his receiving skills as he didn't have a single reception in 2013.

        Seastrunk had 156 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries against Louisiana-Monroe. Even though he only played the first half against Buffalo, he totaled 150 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Seastrunk ran for 172 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns against West Virginia. He had some highlight-reel runs running over defensive backs and accelerating away from other defenders.

        8/3/13: Seastrunk finished the 2012 season in impressive fashion with 843 yards across the final six games. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry for the year and totaled 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns. Seastrunk ran over some tough opponents including Kansas State (19-185), Oklahoma State (16-178) and UCLA (16-139).

        The past two seasons the Bears have lost good passing quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence along with receivers Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams. Seastrunk should be the focal point of Baylor's offense in 2013 and looks poised for a massive season. He has stated that his goal is to win the Heisman Trophy this year.

        Seastrunk is an intriguing runner with size and speed. He has nice cutting ability and a real burst to break off long runs. Seastrunk needs to avoid the tendency to dance around and run more downhill. Originally, he signed with Oregon and redshirted as a freshman in 2010. Seastrunk sat out 2011 after transferring to Baylor.

        Personal: Majoring in general studies. Son of Evelyn Seastrunk.
      1. Jeremy Hill**, RB, LSU
        Height: 6-2. Weight: 235.
        Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
        Projected Round (2014): 2-4.

        2/1/14: Hill is occasionally a dominant runner. He was the best of a talented group of running backs for LSU over the past two season. Hill has the size of a power runner, but also has a burst to the hole and the second level of the defense. His quickness differentiated him from the Tigers' other big backs and led to him being their featured runner for 2013.

        Hill averaged 6.9 yards per carry in 2013 for 1,401 yards with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 181 yards. As a freshman the year before, Hill ran for 755 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry.

        Hill looks like he has the potential to be a starting back in the NFL and could even have three-down potential. He has a unique skill set and could be nice value pick on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft - if his off-the-field concerns don't sink him to Day 3.

        Personal: Hill has some off-the-field red flags. At the end of high school, he was charged with misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a 14-year old girl and also had a simple battery charge for a bar fight in April of 2013.
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  3. Tennessy XO

    Tennessy XO @TennessyXO

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    I'm all in for Tre Mason.

    Greene might be the only RB left on the roster in 2014.
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  4. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

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  5. The Hammer

    The Hammer Straight Ridah

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    And potential FA replacements for :cj:. Not the greatest here:
    http://walterfootball.com/freeagents2014RB.php
    1. Ben Tate, RB, Texans. Age: 26.
      Ben Tate suffered a season-ending injury prior to his rookie campaign in 2010, allowing Arian Foster to take over as Houston's primary running back. Had this never happened, Tate probably would've been an occasional Pro Bowler. Tate is a very talented runner, though he's not nearly as effective on third down as Foster happens to be. He's also injury-prone, which is why he's not rated higher.
    2. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos. Age: 27.
      The Montee Ball draft pick seemed to light a fire under Knowshon Moreno, who is coming off a career year. There's definitely concern, however, that he didn't start giving maximum effort until his contract season. Also, don't forget how injury-prone he's been before 2013. Caveat emptor.

    3. Andre Brown, RB, Giants. Age: 27.
      Andre Brown is a strong runner who happens to be a solid pass-catcher. He also blocks well. Unfortunately, he had a fumbling problem down the stretch.
    4. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Age: 27.
      LeGarrette Blount has turned his career around in New England. Tampa Bay thoughtlessly discarded him, yet Blount was able to find a home with the Patriots. He averaged five yards per carry in 2013, though he still isn't any sort of factor in the passing game.
    5. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders. Age: 27.
      Darren McFadden has been through so many injuries that he's been sapped of all explosiveness. He's averaged 3.5 yards per carry or worse the past two seasons. Perhaps he can rebound in a better offense and become a legitimate threat again.


    6. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars. Age: 29.
      Maurice Jones-Drew's 2013 campaign was easily the worst of his career, but two things to keep in mind: First, he was running behind an offensive line with no talent whatsoever, all while opposing defenses were stacking the box against him. Second, he had a terrible injury in 2012, so he wasn't 100 percent. I wouldn't be surprised if he bounces back in 2014, assuming, of course, he lands in a much better situation.
    7. Donald Brown, RB, Colts. Age: 27.
      The Trent Richardson trade sparked Donald Brown, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2013. He's a quality pass-catcher.
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  6. titans92790

    titans92790 Starter

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    With the running aspect of football in general decreasing at such a phenomenal rate in the past few years, I like the aspect of cutting both CJ and Greene, although if we had to keep one, CJ is definitely my option. I just wish he wasn't such a Rod Tidwell in trying to make the Titans say..[​IMG]
    #6
  7. JCBRAVE

    JCBRAVE Tweet me @JCBRAVE

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    I like those first 3 names
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  8. FireMedic34

    FireMedic34 Camp Fodder

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    All in for Carlos Hyde!!!! Roll Hyde!!
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  9. Fry

    Fry Hatin' is what I do.

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    I think Jeremy Hill has been pretty underrated thus far. If he didn't have so many red flags for off-field incidents I'd be all for him.
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  10. UrbanLegend3

    UrbanLegend3 Starter

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    Very well balanced assessment.
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