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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chris Johnson Struggling Without Vince Young at Quarterback – Statistical Analysis

Chris Johnson has struggled this season. The man who eclipsed 2,000 rushing yards in 2009 can’t even crack the 45 yards per game mark this year. There are many reasons why he’s struggling this season, though it’s hard to isolate the exact reason he’s had problems. One could be the that offensive line isn’t as good as it was. Another could be Johnson’s less-than-peak physical condition because he held out and missed training camp.

A far less cited reason for Johnson’s struggles is something the statistics support: Chris Johnson is not as good without Vince Young at quarterback. The reason is simple: VY is a running threat. Opposing defenses frequently spy a quarterback like Young, which keeps at least one linebacker busy. Having another person on the field to constantly worry about running the ball takes pressure off the running back.

I actually looked through every carry of Chris Johnson’s career, and the data shows he had by far his greatest success with Vince Young as his quarterback, more moderate success with Kerry Collins, and that he’s been brutal with Matt Hasselbeck at QB.

In 19 games with Vince Young at QB: 398 ATT, 2072 YDS, 18 TDs, 122 YPG, 5.2 YPC
In 25 games with Kerry Collins at QB: 433 ATT, 1930 YDS, 14 TDs, 74 YPG, 4.4 YPC
In 6 games with Matt Hasselbeck at QB: 93 ATT, 268 YDS, 1 TD, 44 YPG, 2.8 YPC

Four of the games listed for Young and Collins were partial games because either quarterback was benched or injured mid-game.

Johnson ran for over 100 yards 13 of the 15 games Young played from start to finish.

Johnson ran for over 100 yards 6 of the 21 games Collins played from start to finish.

While the statistical difference is glaring, there is one caveat: in 2008 (14 of the 21 games with Collins), Johnson split carries with LenDale White, making it more difficult to run for 100 yards.

These numbers show you how fantastic Johnson was with Vince Young. Here is a chart breaking down his stats (click twice to enlarge):

When people analyze the impact a quarterback like Vince Young has, they need to understand how he can open up the running game. Chris Johnson sure understands it — his best games by far were the ones when he played alongside Vince.

Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE


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