Chris Johnson reiterated Wednesday what was obvious weeks ago to anyone who followed the Tennessee Titans during the 2010 season.
In an NFL Network interview with former running back Marshall Faulk from the day’s Pro Bowl practice, Johnson said that coach Jeff Fisher and quarterback Vince Young needed to part ways.
“I feel like a lot of things went on this year that hurt our season,” Johnson said. “I don’t think both of those guys would have been able to be on the same team the next year ... and us have a successful year.”
He did concede that the very public rift between the coach and quarterback had a negative effect on the team’s ability to prepare and play.
“When you have something like that, it’s the sort of thing you really can’t block out for too long,” Johnson said. “When it finally hit the fan, it was the sort of thing where Vince went on IR and he wasn’t in the locker room so it was kind of just Fish there, but things were still going on.”
Young started eight of the first nine games but spent the final six weeks on injured reserve following thumb surgery. Tennessee lost eight of its last nine games and finished 6-10.
In the days following the season, owner Bud Adams said the team intended to cut ties with Young, a first-round draft pick (third overall) in 2006.
“It was crazy,” Johnson said. “At the beginning, when he was there, we were 5-2. Then he got hurt. Then after he started playing, it kind of went downhill. That was a thing, and there were a lot of other distractions. I just feel as a team we have to learn to block those distractions out and when Sunday comes we have to play as a team and execute all the plays we are running.
“Without Vince there, it’s going to be kind of crazy, but I wish him the best and we have to move on.”
Johnson touched on several other subjects as well, including:
• His future goals: “My goal is still to run for 2,000 [yards].”
• The opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl for the third time in as many seasons as a professional: “It just feels good to be out here with all the best in the league, competing and trying to go out here and get a win.”
• Any discussions between Johnson and Houston’s Arian Foster, the league’s rushing champions in 2009 and 2010, respectively: “There’s not a lot of trash talk right now — it’s AFC versus NFC. I’m sure we’ll have that talk before we leave.”