Chris Johnson had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history once upon a time. As anyone who has owned him in a fantasy league since then can tell you, that was a long time ago.
In 2009, Johnson had 2,006 rushing yards and added another 503 receiving. So when the world is giving Adrian Peterson praise for his incredible season last year and putting him on a pedestal as the best running back in football, Johnson isn't willing to take a back seat to the NFL's MVP.
In an interesting interview with CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco, Johnson has obviously not lost any bravado, as he said he wants to rush for 2,000 yards this season and refused to say Peterson is better than him.
"I did it first," Johnson said of Peterson's 2000-yard season, to CBSSports.com. "Not one time did I sit back and say he did something that I can't do. I did it first. He's a great back. But I can't sit here and say out of my own mouth that Adrian Peterson is better than me. All the things he's done, I've done the same things. I did them first."
You have to give him credit for confidence. When Johnson is on a roll, he's still one of the most exciting backs in the NFL. He just hasn't been that productive in recent years.
The last three seasons Johnson has rushed for 1,364, 1,047 and 1,243 yards. Not bad, but not in the same zip code as 2,000 either. His averages his first two seasons were 4.9 and 5.6 yards per carry. The last three years they've been 4.3, 4.0 and 4.5. But that's not all his fault, either.
Johnson hasn't had a great line to run behind, which made the Titans' offseason moves pretty interesting. They signed guard Andy Levitre to a five-year, $39 million deal, then drafted guard Chance Warmack, a future NFL star from Alabama (if the Titans ever sign the lone remaining first-round holdout). The Titans went from being pretty poor on the line to having one of the best guard tandems in football. That makes Johnson much more interesting this season.
There were warning signs late last season. If you remove a 94-yard run against the Jets, Johnson didn't average better than 2.7 yards per carry in any of his last four games in 2012. That's concerning. But it's a new season, with a significantly upgraded offensive line.
And we know Johnson hasn't lost faith in himself.