People who know the name Chris Johnson view him as either one of two things, one of the quickest and most durable backs in the modern NFL, or a player who is over the hill and in steep decline. In reality either or both of these opinions could be the truth. Johnson blew the NFL away when he broke the record for the 40 yard dash record at the combine with a 4.24 and that speed translated immediately to the NFL as CJ punished people who let him get behind them. In 2009 he earned the nickname CJ2K thanks to an astounding 2006 yard rushing season and the rushing title.
In 2013, although still rushing for over 1000 yards, had his lowest yards per carry average at a lowly 3.9. It has been well documented that he was playing through a torn meniscus which he received surgery for after the season in January. This could definitely have been a contributing factor to his decline in performance but now his age will become a factor in how fast he can heal and how strong he can come back. At his current age of 28 this will not be the easiest of tasks but considering the fact that Adrian Peterson was able to come back after such a devastating injury, maybe the man who was able to run for over 2000 yards behind only a moderately performing offensive line can do so as well.
Whether or not (and to what extent) Johnson can come back strong is just one thing to consider when looking at his future with the Jets. There is another issue at play and that is the fact that he will be joining a true running back by committee season. He will be playing alongside the proven bruiser from last season Chris Ivory and the reliable Bilal Powell. For his health and his age this is an ideal system for him to be in as Ivory can pummel D line’s, wearing them out in order for Johnson to come in and open up some big ones. However, will he be happy in this role, or will he want to take as many snaps as possible in search of his 7th 1000 yard season.
So there you have it, the big questions circling Chris Johnson and his future with the Jets, will he come back strong from the injury and will he accept a more limited role. I for one believe anything was possible in the NFL, and if the Jets end up with just some of the spark CJ had in that jaw dropping 2009 season they made out great with this deal and made the offense much more dynamic. However, we shall have to wait and see how things pan out over the next year.