Coach Mike Munchak said Monday there is no running back controversy involving Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer.
While Ringer, who had a team-best 60 yards on 14 carries in Sunday's 27-10 win over Indianapolis, will continue to get work, Johnson remains the Tennessee Titans starting running back.
“It’s no different than it was this past week. (Chris Johnson) is the starter like he has been. He will stat the game and Javon (Ringer) will roll in there at times depending on how the game is going,” he said.
Munchak said that Johnson is “not cutting corners and is working as hard as anyone on the roster” to find answers as to why he has only 302 yards rushing through seven games.
“It's hard to pass judgment on someone they don't know. The kid is working hard. There's no doubt about that. He's probably practicing harder than he ever has since he's been here. That's going on and he's handling it well,” Munchak said.
“Expectations are so high that unless we run for 200 a game, there will be people questioning what he's doing, because of how he is and how he's perceived to be one of the top backs in the league. People expect an awful lot from him every time he steps on the field, and when you come up short of that, and as a team we've struggled, everyone is trying to find out what's wrong. There's nothing wrong with him.”
Meanwhile, Ringer could continue to be in the Titans plans each week, though it sounds like it will be on a more as needed basis like it was Sunday against the Colts.
“CJ is our starter, like you heard guys say. If you ask Javon, he'd say the same thing. CJ is our starter going forward. Nothing has changed,” Munchak said. “We don't feel any differently about Chris Johnson. Nothing is changing. Our philosophy hasn't changed. We're not giving each guy 12 carries or 14 carries, whatever it may be. Next game it could be 20 carries and three carries.”
However, Ringer did have a role in the game plan on Sunday even before Johnson began to struggle again. And when he performed well, the Titans apparently decided to stick with the hot hand late when they needed the run game to polish off the win.
“We knew going into the game that we had to find a way to get something going running the ball and we were going to give him some opportunities along with Chris but there is really no more to it than that,” Munchak said.