Chris Johnson finished under 4.0 yards per carry for the first time in his career last season. His production had drained to the point that the Tennessee Titans decided he was no longer worthy of his contract.
Afforded a fresh start with the New York Jets, Johnson has teammates believing a bounce-back season is in store.
"Oh yeah, he still has it," linebacker David Harris said, via the New York Post. "We noticed it the first day when we were in Cortland. He's still the fastest guy on the field. He's still got a lot of juice in those legs."
Defense end Sheldon Richardson added, "If he gets behind the defense he's not getting caught from behind by anybody in the league."
There's the rub.
Johnson's forays to the far reaches of defenses have been few and far between of late. After leading the NFL with seven runs of 40-plus yards in 2009, Johnson has managed just eight total in the last four years combined. He didn't have a single run of 40 yards or more last season.
There's little doubt that Johnson still has elite long speed. If he stops avoiding contact closer to the line of scrimmage, we might get to see it again in 2014.
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