Wondering why Chris Johnson was still running the football with the Titans ahead by 25 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 38-13 win over Oakland?
So were a lot of people, as it was a topic of conversation Sunday night and Monday. On Monday, Titans coach Jeff Fisher attempted to explain why he chose to leave his star running back in the game with the outcome no longer in doubt.
Fisher said the Titans had to get Johnson and the first-team offense acclimated to playing four full quarters after they played sparingly at times in the preseason, and that the team was working on the execution of certain things as well.
“We're trying to win football games and play players and get them ready for the long haul. I don't go into this game with concern about any player getting hurt.” Fisher said. “What you do when you sub in games where you're ahead, the intention is not to keep someone from getting hurt, the intention is to get a backup playing reps and opportunities.
“I don't feel like Javon [Ringer] needs that. He doesn't need to prove anything to us. That's the thought process when you're very fortunate to get ahead like we did. And these things are few and far between. When you do sub, it's to get another player reps, it's not to keep somebody from getting hurt.”
Fisher said the Titans' plan is to get the ball in Johnson's hands as much as possible and that decisions on when to take him off the field will be made judiciously.
“When it's time for him to come out, we'll take him out,” Fisher said. “I don't think of those things. He's not injury prone. He plays hard. He's been there. We're working and trying to execute things, not only to finish the game, but also to try and create some other opportunities as we move forward.”
For his part, Johnson said he had no problem with still being in a game that was out of hand.
“I still feel we need work,” Johnson said after the game Sunday. “When you first start out the season, you’re not going to be as good as you’re going to be at the end of the year. So we’re just still working right now.”