PDA

View Full Version : Carter: LJ eager to keep running


tk13
12-12-2004, 02:08 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10396605.htm

Chiefs' Johnson eager to stay on the run

With Holmes out, running back wants chance to duplicate last week's effort

By IVAN CARTER
The Kansas City Star


After he dressed and headed to the team bus following the best performance of his brief NFL career last Sunday, Chiefs running back Larry Johnson did what he always does after a game.

He called his dad, Larry Johnson Sr.

The difference was that instead of expressing frustration over another Sunday spent standing on the sidelines, the Johnsons were able to share some happiness.

“I had to wait for the tempo to slow down, give him 20 minutes to let him calm down because I knew he'd be so excited,” the younger Johnson said. “He was real happy. Usually with my college games, he'd be more like a coach saying, ‘You should have done this, this and this,' but last Sunday he was so happy to see me in there, he wasn't really coaching as much as he was just hyped up over how I played.”

So did Larry Sr., the defensive-line coach at Penn State, have any football advice for his son?

“Well, he's got the TiVo now so he can sit there and go over every run like coaches do,” the younger Johnson said. “So you know he was breaking it all down.”

The Johnsons should have another opportunity to talk football after the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans get together on Monday night. With Priest Holmes out for the season, the Chiefs will use the final four games to evaluate Derrick Blaylock, who will be a free agent following the season, and Johnson, a former first-round pick who is coming off a 20-carry, 118-yard, two-touchdown performance at Oakland last week.

Johnson's breakout performance was so intriguing because the second-year back seems to epitomize the Chiefs' immediate future: intriguing but uncertain. Was Johnson's performance a sign of things to come or simply a byproduct of facing a porous Oakland defense? Was the Chiefs' exciting 34-27 come-from-behind victory a precursor to something bigger and better in 2005 or the byproduct of facing a bad opponent that had nothing to play for?

Johnson and the Chiefs will seek more clarity beginning Monday night at Tennessee, where they will attempt to show a national television audience that sporting a 4-8 record doesn't mean they are a 4-8 team.

“We know that everyone will be watching, and we want to show them that the Chiefs are a good football team with heart regardless of what our record says,” said offensive guard Brian Waters, who is quietly having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. “It's important for us to show people what we're made of.”

Just as it will be important for Johnson to build on his Oakland performance. The question is: How many opportunities will Johnson get? Blaylock will make his fifth straight start in place of Holmes, and Johnson's role could be determined by the flow of the game. Coach Dick Vermeil said Saturday that Blaylock will take the first two series, Johnson will take the third, then the backs will rotate.

“Some of that will be determined by how the game plays out,” Vermeil said. “Sometimes you get a feel as the game goes on, like in New Orleans when Derrick was rippin' 'em pretty good. They're both going to get a chance to get in there and run.”

The door opened for Johnson last week only because Blaylock was knocked out of the game in the second quarter by a wicked hit from Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Faced with no alternative, the Chiefs began feeding Johnson, who started slowly but noticeably picked up steam as the game went on. A look at Johnson's carries shows how he found his legs, settled down and found a groove. Johnson's first 10 carries went for 2, 2, 4, 4, 2, 3, 4, 7, 5 and 4 yards, with the 5-yarder accounting for a third-quarter touchdown.

Johnson's final 10 carries covered 9, 34, 6, 2, 3, 6, 6, 2, 8 and 5 yards, and it was obvious that the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Johnson was getting stronger as he wore the Raiders down.

“I think a lot of it had to do with his confidence in that game,” quarterback Trent Green said. “The other times that he played it was spot duty here and there. Last week when he came in, he knew he'd be carrying the load, and I think after he got a couple of carries under his belt — you know when you get hit a few times, kind of knock things loose — I think he kind of gained confidence.”

“The first couple of times he ran he'd get up and come back to the huddle, and as that game went on you could see a little more bounce in his step, a little more rhythm, and as the game wore on his confidence was growing — not only in the running game but in the passing game as well.”

Johnson would love nothing more than to log at least 15 to 20 carries Monday night inside the same stadium where his idol, Eddie George, wore defenses down for so many years as a member of the Titans. Johnson switched his jersey number from 34 to 27 this season in honor of George, and he's juiced up to play in the house where George dominated the tempo of games for several years.

“Yeah, it's real cool to be playing there,” Johnson said. “It would be even better if he could be there. I've been a Tennessee Titan fan just because of him. I always liked his running style. He's not the flashiest, but he's the kind of back who is going to get every yard he can, and he dishes out punishment as much as he takes it.”

Last week, Johnson found a groove he hadn't experienced since his senior season at Penn State, when he became the first back in Big Ten history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season. Not even George, who won the Heisman Trophy at Ohio State, put up those kinds of numbers.

“It was around my sixth or seventh carry,” Johnson said. “That's when I knew because I was getting tackled, and it was like: ‘They aren't even tackling me. They aren't even really hitting me.' It was more like I was getting tripped up. I was running so hard, leaning forward because I was thinking that somebody was going to pound me, but when they weren't there it was like I was falling down. After awhile I was able to get my tempo right, keep my feet and find a rhythm.”

The toughest lick Johnson took all game was delivered by rookie safety Stuart Schweigert, who caught Johnson in the hole following a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter. Despite giving Johnson everything he could, the 210-pound Schweigert looked surprised when Johnson popped up off the turf and jogged back to the huddle.

“He caught me in kind of an awkward position and hit me pretty good, but I still fell forward,” Johnson said. “That's when I got up like: ‘OK, let's go back and do it again. I'm having fun now.' I like getting hit like that. That's football.”

That style is all too familiar to Tennessee rookie cornerback Richard Gardner, who played with Johnson at Penn State.

“I never forgot how he would deliver punishment to the defensive players,” Gardner said. “We used to scrap and brawl sometimes because he would give it to me.”

“Larry just needs a chance to carry the ball and show people what he is capable of doing on a weekly basis. It's hard for someone of his talents to play behind a great running back in Priest Holmes, because L.J. is an extraordinary athlete himself. We knew once he was selected by Kansas City that his opportunities would be limited.

“He heard all the negativity about the type of players Penn State running backs were once they got in the NFL, and he wanted to — and still wants to — silence those critics. L.J. has something to prove to himself because he is a hard worker, and when it is all said and done, he will be one of those Nittany Lion backs who will get his respect by the way he runs the ball and how he produces on the field.”

A chance to get on the field is all Johnson has asked for since the Chiefs made the controversial decision to select him with the 21st overall pick in the 2003 draft. Johnson has watched as classmates such as Onterrio Smith, Chris Brown, Willis McGahee and Domanick Davis have been given their opportunities to be featured backs and wondered when he'd get his chance.

Perhaps it has finally arrived.

“It all depends on opportunities,” Johnson said. “We'll see what happens, and if the opportunity presents itself to go in there and get some carries, hopefully I'll have the same success. If not, it's still going to be great to go out and perform on ‘Monday Night Football.' ”

Count Alex's Losses
12-12-2004, 02:13 AM
when it is all said and done, he will be one of those Nittany Lion backs who will get his respect by the way he runs the ball and how he produces on the field.”

Oh dear. ROFL

el borracho
12-12-2004, 02:24 AM
Seriously, why are we rotating running backs? I don't get it. We've seen Blaylock enough to know what he can do. Let's get Johnson some playing time.

cheeeefs
12-12-2004, 02:31 AM
“It was around my sixth or seventh carry,” Johnson said. “That's when I knew because I was getting tackled, and it was like: ‘They aren't even tackling me. They aren't even really hitting me.' It was more like I was getting tripped up. I was running so hard, leaning forward because I was thinking that somebody was going to pound me, but when they weren't there it was like I was falling down. After awhile I was able to get my tempo right, keep my feet and find a rhythm

that right there was my major problem with him his first few games. He was always getting shoestring tackled, it seemed like anything would make him fall down. I'm very very glad he seems to have realized this and seems to know how to correct it. I like this.

Rausch
12-12-2004, 04:21 AM
I know this is is blasphemy here, but he's the physical type of back I've wanted here since Okoye left. Exactly the type of back I've wanted.

Now, the problem is the poor guy is a victim of circumstance. Most of the fans wanted a defensive player (I wanted Boss) and it seems even DV wanted one...

But now that we've got him, I'm glad we do. I think he's going to have a very bright future...

elvomito
12-12-2004, 04:35 AM
imagine, a few motnhs ago, if we traded him to tampa for mcCardell and he blew it up down there... would our season have turned out the same or different with that supposed go-to WR?

Spicy McHaggis
12-12-2004, 05:50 AM
I wondered if Eddie George had something to do with the number change. LJ runs a lot like his idol, I was sure we were going to draft Boss and LJ was going to replace Eddie. Oh well, seems to be working out a little better each week. Just keep on runnin', work hard and kiss babies and KC will embrace you Larry.

Rain Man
12-12-2004, 10:48 AM
Seriously, why are we rotating running backs? I don't get it. We've seen Blaylock enough to know what he can do. Let's get Johnson some playing time.

I agree with you, kind of. The problem is in benching a player who's higher on the depth chart - it just doesn't seem right.

Sure-Oz
12-12-2004, 11:29 AM
Don't see why we should showcase blaylock anymore for other teams. LJ should get the majority of the carries with blaylock getting like 5-10 carries max.

suds79
12-12-2004, 11:36 AM
I liked the way LJ ran tough but I just hope he knows that his idol, Eddie George, is one of the most overrated RBs I've ever seen.

His average yards/carry has always been pretty bad.

Yeah it's nice to punish guys, but I just hope that if Larry sees an opportunity to make a guy miss for a long gainer, he takes it.

That's something I've never really seen Eddie do much of.

Chiefnj
12-12-2004, 11:37 AM
Ha, ha. Once again the Chiefs are a RBBC team.

Bowser
12-12-2004, 11:39 AM
I agree with you, kind of. The problem is in benching a player who's higher on the depth chart - it just doesn't seem right.

The problem is having a first round draft pick who isn't higher on the depth chart.

Sure-Oz
12-12-2004, 11:41 AM
LJ can't pass block, that is probably the only reason he is the 3rd rb. Young rb's have to develop that, I have no probs with him learning it. Just prefer him learn quick and not get Green killed.

Bowser
12-12-2004, 11:41 AM
And what the hell is this thing Vermeil has with "the first two series"? This isn't preseason. If they are really more worried about winning games than evaluating talent for 2005, they need to play the guy who is producing, or gives them the best chance to win.

MonroeChief
12-12-2004, 11:48 AM
And what the hell is this thing Vermeil has with "the first two series"? This isn't preseason. If they are really more worried about winning games than evaluating talent for 2005, they need to play the guy who is producing, or gives them the best chance to win.

You hit the nail on or near the head. I don't think the Chiefs are looking for wins. I think they are starting to evaluate players for next season, after all, this one is over.

RedNFeisty
12-12-2004, 11:55 AM
And what the hell is this thing Vermeil has with "the first two series"? This isn't preseason. If they are really more worried about winning games than evaluating talent for 2005, they need to play the guy who is producing, or gives them the best chance to win.

I hope they are not worried about winning the next few games, that would be pointless. They do need to evaluate players for next season.

The only thing I don't like about LJ is that he runs up the middle to much, he needs to break out on the sides. He gets shut down to fast running up the middle.

Bowser
12-12-2004, 11:59 AM
I hope they are not worried about winning the next few games, that would be pointless. They do need to evaluate players for next season.

The only thing I don't like about LJ is that he runs up the middle to much, he needs to break out on the sides. He gets shut down to fast running up the middle.

He has a problem running too "tall". Someone is going to decapitate him, if he doesn't learn to run "smaller".

I'm a hell of an armchair coach! :thumb:

RedNFeisty
12-12-2004, 12:01 PM
He has a problem running too "tall". Someone is going to decapitate him, if he doesn't learn to run "smaller".

I'm a hell of an armchair coach! :thumb:

I'm not even good at that! I am good at sitting in a chair looking purdy!

Rain Man
12-12-2004, 12:02 PM
I'm not even good at that! I am good at sitting in a chair looking purdy!


You and me both. Well, except for the purdy part.

RedNFeisty
12-12-2004, 12:05 PM
You and me both. Well, except for the purdy part.


We know that you are a prudy one!

Rain Man
12-12-2004, 12:07 PM
We know that you are a prudy one!

Well, I did look Amish for a while.

That aside, no one has ever questioned my ability to sit in a chair. I can do it for hours, and hardly ever fall out.

Skip Towne
12-12-2004, 12:14 PM
I'm not even good at that! I am good at sitting in a chair looking purdy!
Ya think so, huh?

gblowfish
12-12-2004, 01:28 PM
Leon wants to start. Leon wants the rock on MNF. Leon wants to show America what Leon is all about. Leon was a first round pick and Grandpa Dick dissed Leon with that diaper crack. Leon's ready to silence all the haters. Leon's prime time baby. Give the rock to Leon, and get outta the way! I'm pretty...I'm a bad man...I'm LEON!!!

Gotta call my daddy, then call my agent now. Peace, out.
Leon's left the building.
You can send a message to Leon here:
http://leon.budweiser.com/leon_home.html

Chris Meck
12-13-2004, 09:48 AM
IF:


Priest is going to come back (and it appears he is), and IF he'll be effective post injury (of course he will, he's freakin' superman), then LJ makes a rather nice change of pace back to eat up some touches for him.

Blaylock is starting material somewhere; and we can now rest assured that we've got a quality back to spell Priest and soak up some of the abuse.

I like it.

Chris

HC_Chief
12-13-2004, 09:57 AM
Blaylock will get his chance tonight.... DV wants him to land a good job outside of KC. If he can put on a decent show tonight, his stock rises.

LJ will be a Chief in '05.

el borracho
12-13-2004, 11:54 AM
Blaylock will get his chance tonight.... DV wants him to land a good job outside of KC. If he can put on a decent show tonight, his stock rises.
That is not in the Chiefs best interest and I really hope that is not the case. I can't think of any reason not to give LJ the ball at this point. LJ has run well, he has caught the ball well, his blocking did not get Green killed, and LJ will be here in 2005. Why wouldn't the Chiefs play him and further develop him?

Chiefnj
12-13-2004, 12:00 PM
That is not in the Chiefs best interest and I really hope that is not the case. I can't think of any reason not to give LJ the ball at this point. LJ has run well, he has caught the ball well, his blocking did not get Green killed, and LJ will be here in 2005. Why wouldn't the Chiefs play him and further develop him?

Because they are hoping to retain Blaylock and trade Johnson??

el borracho
12-13-2004, 12:07 PM
Because they are hoping to retain Blaylock and trade Johnson??
No, in that case our best interest would be to increase Johnson's trade value by playing him and hoping he had career games.

Chiefnj
12-13-2004, 12:12 PM
No, in that case our best interest would be to increase Johnson's trade value by playing him and hoping he had career games.

But if he plays poorly his trade value goes down. In any case I don't see him having a high trade value; best case a 4th rounder.

ptlyon
12-13-2004, 12:14 PM
We have too much invested in LJ - he's not going anywhere.

el borracho
12-13-2004, 12:18 PM
We have too much invested in LJ - he's not going anywhere.
Yeah, I agree. Now tell me why he isn't playing the entire game tonight.

Lzen
12-13-2004, 12:20 PM
Because they are hoping to retain Blaylock and trade Johnson??

Nope, I don't think that is it at all. I think that Johnson has to learn to be a better pass blocker. Imagine if Johnson was in there and missed a blocking assignment that got Green injured. What if it was a serious injury that ends Green's career. I like Johnson and hope he gets some chances to carry the ball. I just hope he doesn't screw up a pass blocking assignment and get Green hurt.

Chiefnj
12-13-2004, 12:23 PM
Nope, I don't think that is it at all. I think that Johnson has to learn to be a better pass blocker. Imagine if Johnson was in there and missed a blocking assignment that got Green injured. What if it was a serious injury that ends Green's career. I like Johnson and hope he gets some chances to carry the ball. I just hope he doesn't screw up a pass blocking assignment and get Green hurt.

How many blocking assignments did he blow last week?

IMO, if they were that worried about pass blocking they wouldn't have started a guard at RT this year.

el borracho
12-13-2004, 12:29 PM
I would think that LJ would become a better blocker by playing and actually having to block. Certainly 2 years on the bench is enough time to observe and 2 years of practice is enough time to practice.

Logical
12-13-2004, 12:30 PM
Johnson and the Chiefs will seek more clarity beginning Monday night at Tennessee, where they will attempt to show a national television audience that sporting a 4-8 record doesn't mean they are a 4-8 team.


Oh crap even the media is starting to promote this BS, Carl asswipe that he is has got to be eating this up.

Logical
12-13-2004, 12:37 PM
Leon wants to start. Leon wants the rock on MNF. Leon wants to show America what Leon is all about. Leon was a first round pick and Grandpa Dick dissed Leon with that diaper crack. Leon's ready to silence all the haters. Leon's prime time baby. Give the rock to Leon, and get outta the way! I'm pretty...I'm a bad man...I'm LEON!!!

Gotta call my daddy, then call my agent now. Peace, out.
Leon's left the building.
You can send a message to Leon here:
http://leon.budweiser.com/leon_home.html
I love this schtick. Please keep it coming.:clap:

Tribal Warfare
12-13-2004, 03:29 PM
if Larry Johnson misses a blocking assignment, and that hit on Green becomes a career ender then if I were O-line after the game I would beat the shit out of Johnson

Chiefnj
12-13-2004, 03:48 PM
if Larry Johnson misses a blocking assignment, and that hit on Green becomes a career ender then if I were O-line after the game I would beat the shit out of Johnson


I agree. I also agree that the rest of the offense should beat the shit out of the OL when they couldn't hold off a 3 man rush in the final moments of the game a few weeks ago.