Glenn Naughton of JetNation.com attended a teleconference with Jets star running back Chris Johnson. The following is a transcript of JetNation.com’s portion of the conference.
Glenn Naughton: Chris, when you were a free agent evaluating your options, how much weight did you place on the history that Marty Mornhinweg and the success he had in Philadelphia and the way he used his backs? He had guys he liked to move around a lot in Westbrook and McCoy that had a lot of success in his system, and of course we always hear about how much guys love playing for Rex Ryan. How much did Mornhinweg and Rex play in to your decision?
Chris Johnson: Oh it was a lot. Especially the offensive coordinator situation. You want somebody who uses their players the right way and put their players in position to make plays and that was big. Knowing some of the guys that Marty dealt with as far as Westbrook, McCoy and those guys. That played a big part in it.
GN: Chris, you have a unique perspective in joining the Jets having been with Tennessee last year. You actually played these guys so it’s not that long ago that you were prepping to take this defense on from the other side in live action. Can you give us an idea from all that we hear about that front seven, what is it that makes them so great at what they do? Are they quicker than most guys, is it size, is it discipline and being in the right place, what makes them one of the top units in the league?
CJ: It’s crazy because it seemed like we played the Jets every year and that was a game I dreaded playing in, it was like “dang, we gotta’ play these guys again” but they’re atheletic, speed, discipline, any time you have those four traits in a defense, especially in a front seven, it’s gonna’ be hard to be successful against those guys week in and week out.
GN: Joining this backfield Chris is going to mean splitting carries more than you have any other time in your career. One week you might get 12-15 touches, and the next week you may get 20-plus, do you think that this is going to benefit you in the long run and allow you to play at a higher level for an extended period of time more so than if you were still getting 300 carries like you did in the past?
CJ: It will help me, but it’s a situation like you said, there’s going to be weeks when I have 25 carries, weeks when I have 20. There might be weeks where I get 18 or 15, I feel like it’s a situation where the type of offensive line that we have, I can go in there and have fifteen to twenty carries and have a big day because those guys up front have been doing a tremendous job since I got here. It’s a situation where whatever the game plan is, I’m sure it’s going to work out.
GN: Chris, how is the chemistry with you and the other backs. Since John Idzik has come to the Jets we hear the mantra of competition. Competition can be friendly sometimes and not always contentious but you guys seem to get along really well. What’s it like in practice working with those guys?
CJ: Oh, it’s all good. Everybody looks at it like it’s a competition. We don’t look at it like that in that room. It’s a situation where everybody is gonna touch the ball, everybody knows when they’re gonna’ touch the ball, and everybody in that room knows that we focus the same. Me, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, we all look at the same thing and that’s to win. You look at last weeks game and I got the most carries, Chris Ivory got the second most, and Bilal got a couple and nobody complains. Chris Ivory broke that long run and you never know who’s gonna’ break that long run, we just wanna’ win so we don’t look at it as a competition.
GN: Chris, of course you guys are going to have a workman-like approach from week to week, but do you kind of raise an eyebrow a little bit when you see that you’re going up against a team that gave up over 200 yards rushing last week and you guys are coming off a game where you rushed for 200 yards? I think everybody knows that a key to this week is going to be keeping the ball away from that high-powered Packers offense.
CJ: The main thing is, our mentality in the running back room is “let’s not get excited because this team gave up so many rushing yards, and lets not put in extra work because this team is ranked in the top of the league at stopping the run. We pride ourselves on no matter who we’re playing, we do what we’re supposed to do and hope we come out successful.
JetNation.com would like to thank Chris Johnson and the New York Jets for affording us the opportunity to take part in today’s conference.