Under a mandate from the general manager and head coach, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has put together a playbook designed to make the most of a revamped offensive line,
That should help ease the growing pains for quarterback
"We want to be able to run the ball when we want to and when we need to," Loggains said Tuesday.
General manager Ruston Webster revamped the offensive line, making the Titans bigger and hopefully much better with three free agents, including new left guard
The design is to help the Titans stay on the field longer than the 27 minutes, 18 seconds they managed in 2012 while going 6-10.
Johnson likes what he sees so far and believes it will help him be more effective.
"I can say that because last year ... we basically were trying to turn into like a passing team," Johnson said. "Coming in this year, it's going to be a run-first offense."
Tennessee slipped to 17th in 2010, 31st in 2011 and managed a rebound to 21st last season despite losing four starting offensive linemen to injuries.
Now running is such a big focus for the Titans that Loggains said it's what they talked about first in the offense's initial meeting this offseason. They just started walking through some of the playbook Monday in the latest phase of the offseason program.
Even with the signing of Greene, Johnson remains the Titans' franchise running back. He ranked fifth in the AFC and ninth in the league in 2012 running for 1,243 yards for the third-best season of his career. Only Adrian Peterson reached 6,000 yards rushing in fewer games (63) than Johnson (70). Eric Dickerson, LaDanian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Earl Campbell and Walter Payton ran for more during their first five seasons than Johnson (6,888).
Johnson also ranks fifth with 8,546 yards from scrimmage in his first five seasons, and that's why Loggains wants to move the running back around a bit more. Johnson has 230 career receptions for 1,658 yards but caught only 36 passes last season.
"We need to get him the ball," Loggains said.
"We're going to try to use both their strengths as much as possible," Loggains said.
Johnson seems to have his own ideas as a three-time Pro Bowl running back.
"Everybody needs a backup running back," Johnson said. "I'm sure they've seen a lot of good things in (Greene), and hopefully he can come in and help this team."
The Titans averaged 137.4 yards rushing per game in 2008 when they earned home-field advantage for the playoffs after a 10-0 start. Johnson now sees a roster possibly as talented as that group from his rookie year. But Johnson, who said Munchak talked to him about being more of a leader both on and off the field going into his sixth season, isn't making any predictions.
Not even about how many yards rushing he wants this season.
"I feel like things we have done gave us a chance to take the next step," Johnson said. "Like I been saying, we still got a lot of work to do. Everything looks good on paper. We still have to go out and work hard and prove it on Sunday."