On Sunday the Jaguars will face the Titans who will be led by 12 year veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck, at age 35, heads up the Titans offense after 10 consecutive years as the starter for the Seahawks. He also comes to the Titans after a season in which he threw five more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12).
Regardless, the Titans have leaned heavily on star running back Chris Johnson in the last two seasons and he has been at the forefront of the Tennessee offense. In fact, his 674 carries over the last two seasons are the most by any player during that period. With a new quarterback unfamilar with the offense inserted into the system it seems obvious that the Titans will again lean on Johnson in 2011.
Perhaps that wont be as much on week one as it will be on week eight due to a lengthy holdout that kept Johnson out of training camp and all of the Titans' preseason games, but Johnson's ability to pick up yards on the ground will surely be an important factor.
Johnson has played against the Jaguars six times in his career. In those six games he has averaged 18.5 carries, 105.3 yards and 0.5 touchdowns. The Jaguars have actually done reasonable well against the running back that is the only one to have rushed for over 2,000 yards in a single season since Jamal Lewis did so in 2003.
Of his six games against the Jaguars, he eclipsed 100 yards just twice and had one game in 2009 in which he accumulated 228 yards and two touchdowns. While it seems unlikely that Johnson will get the 24 or more carries that he did in both the games in which he eclipsed the century mark, it will be key for the Jaguars to not allow the explosive plays on his likely limited carries that victimized them in 2009.