Ron Glover’s NFL Questions and (maybe some) Answers for Week 3: Where is Chris Johnson?

(AP)

This is a talent looking to regain greatness…

I’ll take the Mike McCarthy approach and not discuss the replacement officials or last night’s game. A great defensive effort by both teams was eclipsed by one of the great blown calls in recent memory. More on that in the Tip-Off.

Instead we’ll check in on Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals and more.

 (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Cardinals D has lifted them to a 3-0 start.

1. How good are the Arizona Cardinals? The Cardinals defensive unit is right there with some of the NFL’s best. In back to back weeks Ray Horton’s defense has held the high powered offenses of the Patriots and Eagles to less than 20 points. The Cardinals front seven is led by DT Darnell  Dockett and DE Calais Campbell. Dockett brings the heat up the middle while Calais uses every inch of his 6’8″ frame to obstruct the view of quarterbacks. Third-year linebacker Daryl Washington is a play maker who is off to a hot start. Patrick Peterson in his second season has already gaining the reputation as a shutdown corner back.

Kevin Kolb has cut down on his errors by getting rid of the ball quickly and leaning on the run. Will Ken Whisenhunt pencil in John Skelton as the starter when he’s healthy is the big question. Larry Fitzgerald is still the focal point of the offense. The Cardinals 27th ranked rushing attack will have to round into form to balance things out.

2. Which of the 1-2 teams do you believe in? In the AFC it’s definitely New England and Pittsburgh. I’m not sure about the Denver Broncos just yet. Turnovers and the inability to move the chains has had the Broncos playing from behind in recent weeks.

Green Bay will get past last night’s game. Detroit and Washington are able to move the ball effectively, but can’t stop anyone. I think Carolina will bounce back by running the ball more. I need too see some more nasty from Tampa Bay for them to be considered.

3. How big of a deal was Cam Newton’s comments after last week’s loss to the Giants? Newton’s leadership skills have suddenly been called into question after last week’s loss to the NY Giants. Newton’s body english and statements after the loss was received with mixed reviews. Newton was embarrassed for not living up to the moment and shouldered the blame. On the other hand his choice not to give the Giants defensive unit any credit rubbed some people the wrong way.

Then there was the reported scolding that veteran wide receiver Steve Smith gave a sulking Newton late in the game not picked up on camera. Newton sat alone on the bench away from teammates after throwing his third interception. Smith would say later that he had some unchoice words for Newton distancing himself from teammates. According to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Newton is working with a mind coach to help him along in his second season. Newton has denied this report.

The media has been waiting to sink their teeth into Newton for over a year. In his worst game any of us have seen him play as a collegiate or professional the media feels they have found an open chink in Newton’s armor. History suggests they will continue to pull and tug until he is stripped down to their satisfaction.

If he allows it.

(Don McPeak/US Presswire)

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Chris Johnson’s numbers have dropped since his 2,000 yard season in 2009.

4. What’s going on with Chris Johnson? The Tennessee Titans are in a full rebuilding mode and Chris Johnson is a critical part. This season Johnson has carried the ball 33 times for 45 yards and no touchdowns. Yes, this is the same Chris Johnson who rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009. Since that time Johnson numbers have been in sharp decline. Despite coaching changes and the like in Tennessee the one constant should have been the running game. Last year Johnson had a career low 262 carries but tallied a career high 57 receptions. The Titans need to look at their offensive line. Jake Locker is getting knocked around and Johnson can’t give any relief in the run game. That’s where the Titans brass needs to focus their attention and not on whether Johnson should be moved.

18 Responses to “Ron Glover’s NFL Questions and (maybe some) Answers for Week 3: Where is Chris Johnson?”

  1. Temple3 says:

    In my book, CJ2K could be done. I remember when the Steelers beat the Titans in Tennessee a little while back. Bryant McFadden popped him and said that Johnson quit after the hit. I don’t know if he was injured or what, but when DBs can talk about laying you out and you only have a handful of “get back” games against scrubs, I think something is wrong. It’s very possible that his Want To is all used up. He’s getting 15 to 25 carries per game and playing for a coach that was an offensive lineman and who would love to run the rock. Their line was considered the best in the league not that long ago…did they turn into bums overnight?

    I wish I could find a pic of the hit…it definitely changed the game. I haven’t seen that cat in a highlight since then.

  2. Temple3 says:

    What did Cam say last week?

  3. Sinclair says:

    “History suggests they will continue to pull and tug until he is stripped down to their satisfaction.

    If he allows it.”

    That’s my problem with Newton. He’s allowing it.

    That post game press conference was shocking. He behaved as if someone died. But no one died. He had a bad game in week 3 and he couldn’t handle it. Stand up, say you played badly and move on to week 4 like all other professionals do! My lord, what’s gonna happen when things actually get tough, like in week 12 or in the playoffs? Of if something happens in his life that actually matters, like losing a relative.

    Torrie Smith lost his brother hours before posting an all-pro performance and he stood up and moved on. Smith is hard like dolomite. Newton needs to toughen up. And don’t talk to me about the pressure on Newton. Who had more pressure on their head and heart than Smith had Sunday?

    Please.

  4. The two are not to be compared in any way shape or form. Cam should have been upset. He sucked but it also was more about the game plan he was handed vs. a Giants front licking their Cam Newton NFL Network chops.

  5. Sinclair says:

    On CJ, I’m with Temple. RB is the most physically unforgiving position to play, everyone knows that. RB’s fall off faster than all other positions because of the physical toll. The line is not the problem. There actually is no problem. CJ got paid and he hurts and he just doesn’t have the desire to risk his life with the same commitment he did before he got paid – it’s human nature and I personally do not blame him at all. I don’t know any cats who wouldn’t do the same. He has to take care of himself and his family. Fuck the NFL, fuck the Titans and fuck the fans. Are they gonna put food on his table? No. Are they gonna look after his health? No. Are they gonna send his kids to Harvard? No. If I was CJ, I would take the loot and skip town. Now that would be some justice. He already gave his pound of flesh and then some. And it would be honest.

  6. Temple3 says:

    Sinclair —

    I’m ROTFLMBAO!!!

  7. Sinclair says:

    “The two are not to be compared in any way shape or form.”

    Cam acted like someone died after a bad game. Smith acted like a man after someone actually did die. I think that’s ironic and I’ll make the comparison in that shape and form.

  8. So if Torrey Smith’s brother didn’t die what would be your reference? The two are exclusive. I want my QB to feel the sting of a nationally televised loss…especially after everyone has suddenly been on his jock. That’s how champions are born. He takes his job seriously and with all the haters he’s picked up since his JC days, I’m with him wanting it all now.

  9. Temple3 says:

    What is the difference between petulance and abhorring losses? I always tell my son to keep his head up — win or lose; to compete and to not reveal weakness and doubt to the competition. Paul O’Neill, the former Reds and Yankees right fielder, has always been the Poster Boy for Petulance. Did he hate losing more than Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera? I doubt it. Is one way right and the other wrong? Hard to say. One way is decidedly NOT COOL, but we can’t all be ICE, ICE, BABY. Someone has to bring the fire THIS TIME and NEXT TIME.

    I’m not down with SULKING because it is part of a process of disengagement, of separation. That’s not family, that’s not team, that’s not love. That’s not cool. That’s for five-year olds. If a dude wants to be pissed about losing, bring fire or bring ice, but don’t bring detachment…don’t bring isolation. Bring YOU…the real YOU — win or lose, rain or shine, in front or behind. Bring resolve, bring determination, bring faith or enthusiasm. And most of all, bring your balls because we can’t play these ball games without them.

  10. I was not talking about detachment. Cam should never sit by himself in any circumstance. That was childish.

  11. Sinclair says:

    If Smith’s brother didn’t die, I’d compare Newton’s petulance (excellent word choice, Temple) to all the other professionals who lost on week 2 and every other week in NFL history and who stood up and answered or shrugged off the questions like an adult – maintaining a cool (another excellent word choice, T) head and using the correct perspective. I made this comparison on Thursday night, after the game.

    But Smith’s brother did die and he’ll prob win (fully deserved) the AFC Offensive player of the week award and now Newton looks even more foolish to me. That’s all.

  12. mapoui says:

    Cam Newton has always displayed a silly, uncool streak ..like when he threw other black QB’s under the bus last year with his comments that showed-up some of his colleagues who had had trouble

    that he petulantly sulked after this loss was no shock. it was silly but in line with those comments last year.

    36-7 reflects a perfect result of the Giants/Panthers game ..a result that should have been expected by all..especially the experienced commentators and expert selections.

    an Intelligent Cam Newton would have known that too…should have had an accurate impressions of the major difference in class and form between his team and the Giants. he should have known what he was really up against

    and while going out and playing like the devil, had he assessed the game correctly cam could have taken the result in better stride, learned and incorporated lessons and be ready for this week coming up..without the petulance

    Newton like the commentators, the experts, appears to have taken seriously the contention, the idea, that the panthers could have, should have beaten, a much better Giants team, in very good form, playing very good football.

    that was not possible…unless by some fluke flow of nature

    Cam Newton long gave the impression he is not as smart, as focused and real or grounded as he ought to be. Cam appears to take the world..to relate to the world.. as if he is a white boy, a golden haired boy.

    he better wake up!

  13. mapoui says:

    well! I calculated my previous post to tickle out a response but no one responded. I was as hard as I thought a fair limit on Cam Newton, figuring someone would get angry

    I tried anyway. I guess I am not family.

    but I like cam Newton who is a superb athlete… a phenom, incredible at 6′ 5″, truly impressive. but he has an Achilles and we saw it on Thursday night.

    Newton is not grounded in his reality as a black male. as a result he is a brat genius, out of sync with his hard racial reality

    should Newton overcome that and the Panthers build a class team around him, no QB record would be safe.

    the same may already be said for Griffin. and Andrew Luck looks also a very good one.

    Griffin is young, clearly so. but he does not suggest any difficulty like that exposed by Cam

    the next 10 years or so looks like QB heaven for the NFL, with a stronger than ever African American component. its been a time in coming but its here

    the starting five is a nice site, very informative, intelligent comment all the way. Temple3 is a treat. I have never encountered anyone like him anywhere else on the net in sports.

    I will still read this site. cant help it. its too attractive… although comments have fallen of a bit recently.

    I don’t fit however, so I am moving on! its been a slice as they say.

    all the best!

  14. Temple3 says:

    Thanks and huh??

    Where ya goin’?

    I’m glad you said what you said about Cam because that’s your perspective. I didn’t get into it yesterday because there were other things going on and I didn’t want to get too far down the Rabbit Hole.

    I don’t know that Newton’s reality is the same as everyone else’s before him, with respect to race. Surely it is in part…but which part?

    Is it the part that says, Black QBs can’t throw the ball consistently? Probably not. Is the part that says Black QBs lack the overall skill set (mostly social and behavioral) to be the face of the franchise…the icon of a multi-million dollar financial enterprise that impacts local, state and regional politics? Possibly. That’s what Steve Smith was getting at…I think.

    When I see Cam, I tend to think of Steve McNair. I don’t know all the details from his early career, but it became obvious over time that McNair could’ve thrown the ball far more than he was permitted. His franchise didn’t invest in good receivers and that was always a stopping point for them. Newton and McNair have very similar skill sets. Size, speed, rocket arms. Cam’s probably more accurate at this stage of his career.

    And, in some respects, they have similar team designs. One good receiver (Steve Smith/Derrick Mason), strong running game (DeAngelo & J.S./Eddie George), great pass-catching tight end (Greg Olsen/Frank Wycheck) and a solid defense (when Beason and Thomas Davis were healthy). Rivera, though, is a staunch advocate for Cam’s possibilities as a person and as a player.

    Off the field, McNair was teflon right up until the moment of his death. Newton’s been just the opposite. In that respect, he reminds me of a cat with 9 lives. This is minor stuff, but folks in the media like to point the bullseye at Cam and character assassinate without the casing from the Grassy Knoll. The media never proved Cam was the bad guy/demon child, but he’s being hit with the same vague, all-encompassing assault that is aimed at DeMarcus Cousins, JaMarcus Russell, and many others who’ve accomplished far less. When viewed broadly, it’s difficult to say it isn’t personal. Perhaps, the difference for Cam is that he’s playing the SuperMan role for real…perhaps he’s not an emotionally fragile Dwight Howard…maybe he’s more like Shaq who can at once have a widely-disseminated video “How My !@% Taste” AND remain a corporate pitch man and TV presence. #shaqtrueteflondon

    So, when a young rookie QB comes out of the gate and passes for 4000 yards, he forces white supremacists to move the goal posts — which they did. They started talking about everything except prowess. That’s a major victory…because we know from McNabb’s career that winning isn’t enough. Heck, we know that from Doug Williams’ career and James Harris’ career.

    Steve Smith has been accused of the same petulance earlier in his career — so he knows from experience what he’s talking about. I am sure that Cam will be just fine and that this will work itself out — if it hasn’t already. Grown folk are gonna disagree on goals, tactics, and execution. It’s a fact of life. I like the level-headed Ron Rivera to clear a path for his people.

  15. ch555x says:

    @Temple3

    The one thing I forgot about Air McNair was his 3rd place finish in the Heisman voting. His early stats were decent while the Oilers/Titans were transitioning from Houston to Memphis, and finally TN. The rest is history…:/

    As for Cam, I figured playing in the SEC amidst the typical noise would set the record straight. This was just something I really didn’t look closely at. As for CJ, it could be a mix of all sorts of things (offensive schemes, 2nd yr QB, money, etc.).

  16. Temple3 says:

    Serious question: Has Nnamdi or DRC made a play since the trades that brought them to town? I haven’t seen them on the highlights one time — unless it was someone else’s highlight. Wassssup??

  17. Ron Glover says:

    @Temple I don’t know what’s going on with DRC and Nnamdi. DRC has his moments here and there. Nnamdi has been nowhere to be found. I’m tired of seeing the back of his jersey.
    I miss the days of Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor — Hell give me Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown.

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