September 15, 2008
Not on the field, of course. They're a disaster in terms of actual performance so far: 0-2 record, 9.0 points per game, 237.0 total yards per game.
The postgame is where the Chiefs really come alive. Herm Edwards seemed sheepish and embarrassed after Sunday's loss, while LJ was...well, he was spectacular.
And when we say "spectacular," we mean frustrated, accusatory, and delusional. These were some of his Sunday afternoon comments, via the Kansas City Star:
"I sense what’s going on. Nobody should run the ball if it isn’t me. I always felt that way ... If I’m not tired and I’m not getting the ball, then there’s something going on."
"It had nothing to do with the offensive line ... You’re not getting any momentum when you’re coming in and you’re coming out, coming in and coming out. It’s kind of tough in my position as a running back. I need to warm up to get going, and it didn’t happen because of personnel changes and things we’re doing on offense. I need 20 or 30 carries."
But it's tough to give a back 20 more carries when the first 12 yield only 22 yards. One of the reasons that Johnson is in and out, of course, is that he's not trusted to block in passing situations. These are his thoughts on a specific whiff:
Johnson was late to block the blitzing linebacker Thomas Howard in the first quarter, and Howard sacked Damon Huard for an 8-yard loss.
“I’m 7 yards back,” Johnson said. “I can’t fly up there. It’s just not going to happen.”
So there you have it: not gonna happen. Even if you agree with LJ's position, you have to admit that's an odd thing to actually say.
Consider finding a roster spot for the speedier Jamaal Charles (4.38 40-yard dash), a player who figures to earn more touches. He's a terrific complement to LJ, if Johnson will allow it. Even in his best seasons, LJ wasn't exactly an explosive player. His strengths are vision, patience, resilience and power.
Back in 2005 and 2006, a typical line looked like this: 31 carries, 154 yards, 5.0 AVG, 2 TDs. His longest run that day went for 18 yards.
Johnson has exactly one 50-yard run to his credit, and it happened last year. His fantasy value has never been about his home-run ability, but rather about his extraordinary workload. If he's not going to get (or deserve) 20-30 carries, then there's very little chance he can be a top fantasy back.
So following yesterday's miserable performance against a team he typically dominates, LJ owners have every reason to be concerned. This has the makings of a season-long drama that produces useful quotes, but not very many useful stats.
Programming note: The blog editor will be filming pro-Bronco propaganda this afternoon. Mr. Pianowski will offer the Monday Brunch a little later...when it's brunchtime.
Photo via Getty Images