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Chris Johnson will be major factor again, Munchak says

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is coming off the lowest rushing (1,047 yards) and touchdown (four) production of his four-year career, and is averaging just 2.8 yards on 28 carries during the 2012 preseason.

However, coach Mike Munchak told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Tuesday that he expects the three-time Pro Bowler to be a major factor once the regular season begins on Sept. 9 against the New England Patriots.

"The running game overall has been solid as you go through all three games, but when the starters are in there, we have just been not as consistent as we want to be yet," Munchak said. "C.J.'s had a great camp as far as, and offseason, about being here, having a great sense of what we're doing, running with confidence -- he's doing exactly what we want him to do. Now it's just a matter of us getting into the regular season and hopefully putting last year behind us."

One bright spot of Johnson's 2011 season was him establishing a career-high with 57 receptions.

"C.J. is a guy who can make plays in a lot of ways," Munchak added. "We cannot forget that he can make a lot of plays catching the ball, because of that speed, he can make plays at any time. So he's going to be a big part (of our offense), he knows that, he's excited about it."

A lack of production in the preseason does not necessarily translate to a lack of production in the regular season. When Johnson ran for over 2,000 yards in 2009, he averaged just 3.1 yards on 25 carries during the preseason.

The major difference for Johnson heading into 2012 is that he'll have had an NFL training camp to get himself into football shape. That wasn't the case after his holdout in 2011, which he lamented earlier this month.

Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.

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