Take this post from a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan, living in Kansas
City. Larry Johnson will be one of this year’s biggest disappointments.
It pains me to say this, but its time to face the music. Let’s start with the least significant reason why Larry Johnson is surely not worth a top 5 pick in 2007, his holdout. Carl Peterson, the Chiefs GM is
not one to give in to a situation like this, and consider the fact that
the Chiefs we entertaining trade offers for the RB says a lot about how
this might go down. I actually expect Larry to show up to camp regardless of if he gets paid, so even though this isn’t hurting LJ that much, it sure isn’t helping him either.
Even if he does sign, or doesn’t hold out. Larry Johnson has the odds
stacked against him. If you check the history of backs who have had
over 400 carries the previous year, the track record is not
encouraging. More times than not, their production drops, and drops a dramatic amount at that. After the the great Priest Holmes was injured in 2005, Larry took over with a heavy workload, finishing the year with 336 carries, plus 33 receptions. Add that to 470 total touches last season including the playoffs and your looking at about 840 touches in 2 seasons. Not the kind of thing a running back has sustained thus far throughout the history of the NFL.
Last and most importantly is the change of personnel on the Chiefs
offense. Lets start with the retirement of the anchor of the Chiefs
O-Line, future Hall of Famer Will Shields. These are not the dominant
players up front anymore blocking for Larry. Casey Wiegmann is another
year older and the rest of the line has some big time question marks.
Two new offensive tackles, new guard, good luck Larry. Top that
off with Brodie Croyle at the helm, and yes it will be Brodie. Herm
will start the young QB just like he did Chad Pennington in New York a
few years back. Croyle did not impress me in college, teams will load
up even more on the run then they did last year. And the only player
the Chiefs have to stretch the field, Eddie Kennison is 35 years old
and will have to create a brand new chemistry with a brand new
quarterback. The Chiefs offense will not produce close to as many red
zone opportunities as they did in 2006. The days of when their offense
got inside the 20 and pounded the ball down your throat for a rushing
touchdown are over.
Larry Johnson’s average dropped from 5.2 to 4.3 last season, I expect even more of a drop this season. Larry jumped from 65 red zone carries in 2005 to 84 in 2006, and still rushed for 3 less touchdowns. I expect both his carries in the redzone and rushing touchdowns to drop this season as well. I dare someone to try and tell me one reason why Larry Johnson will
remain a top 3 fantasy back. Herm Edward’s run first mentality, and the
improved Chiefs Defense cannot carry a fantasy player through an entire
season, and thats a fact. If Brodie Croyle’s success is tied directly
to LJ’s, which it is, and that does not scare you as a fantasy owner, I don’t know what will. Larry Johnson’s demise is inevitable folks.