Chris Johnson says he knows people will point the finger at him for the Tennessee Titans shortcomings, but sees no reason for them to be frustrated.
“People on the outside, who really don't know, who really don't come in here and watch the film how we watch, they really don't know what's going on,” Johnson said. “But just me being the guy that I am, me holding out and me getting a big contract, of course, they're going to point the finger at me and say I'm the guy. So that comes along with it.”
Johnson signed a four-year, $53 million extension with $30 million guaranteed in the first three years after holding out all of preseason, and said he is frustrated, but fans should not be.
“I don't see how they can have frustration because they don't know what's really going on,” Johnson said. “They're just looking at the game and if you don't make a big play, it's automatically your fault. I don't see why they can be frustrated.”
That frustration comes from the fact that the Titans rank dead last in the NFL in rushing and Johnson has just 268 yards on the ground through six games. Johnson then admitted he himself was frustrated after Sunday's 18-yard, 10-carry performance in a 41-7 loss to the Houston Texans.
“That's as frustrated as I've been throughout this year and throughout my whole career I think,” Johnson said. “I know how good we are as a team and as a unit, and for us not to be out there performing on Sunday, it's just frustrating.”
Asked if he felt he had lost some of his speed or burst and ability to make guys miss, Johnson said no, that he simply had not been in the open field enough to have chances to make people miss.
“People shouldn't worry about me losing burst, once I get in the open field. I don't feel I've been in the open field enough times for anybody to question my burst or anything like that,” Johnson said, although he could not specifically recall being brought down by Texans linebacker Brian Cushing after catching a pass in a one-on-one situation.
The other part of the equation has been the offensive line, and while people on the outside are calling for potential lineup changes, Coach Mike Munchak has resisted thus far.
Guard Leroy Harris, who has been one of the players speculated about potentially being moved to center or benched, said the talk of change motivates him to perform better.
“You take it a little bit personally, but it challenges you a little bit more. It pushes me a little bit more to work harder on the things you're struggling at and working on the things you need to improve on,” Harris said. “I welcome that a little bit because in time it makes you a better player. It should make you a better player. You shouldn't get down on yourself. It makes you want to work harder and strive a better player. The coaches want that for you and all your teammates want that for you.”
Johnson said he maintains confidence in the line and that they have confidence he will get back to his old form as well.
“It's not hard (to have confidence in the o-line) because I know their capability and they know my capability,” he said.
He also said he got a little bit of encouragement from a fellow running back as he said Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson called him to offer support.