The Titans continued to overhaul their coaching staff on Tuesday, hiring Chris Palmer to be their new offensive coordinator. Palmer, who has 20 years of NFL coaching experience, has helped a number of running backs find statistical success during his lengthy tenure in the league.
In 1997 as the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, the duo of Natrone Means and James Stewart rushed for a combined 1,378 yards and scored 18 total touchdowns. Fred Taylor went off under Palmer’s guidance the following year, posting 1,644 scrimmage yards and 17 total touchdowns.
After taking over the head coaching duties for the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999 (his best running backs were Terry Kirby and Travis Prentice), Palmer eventually moved on to another expansion franchise, the Houston Texans, in 2002.
While Jonathan Wells and James Allen found only moderate success on the ground that season, Palmer’s offensive system did help Domanick Williams (formerly Davis) develop into a nice fantasy back.
Over the next two years, Williams posted a combined 3,158 scrimmage yards and 22 total touchdowns — even with the ineffective David Carr under center.
The Titans could be in a similar position next season, as Vince Young won’t be back with the team and the aging Kerry Collins isn’t much of an option at this point in his career. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora believes that under Palmer and with questions at the quarterback position, Johnson will be the bell cow.
“Most likely, [Palmer] is going to have to incubate and protect whoever the quarterback is,” La Canfora said. “He already has a decent offensive line in place. Also, C.J. will be in essence in a contract year. I’m sure he will carry the load.”
With more and more teams going to the backfield committee approach, Johnson is an even greater asset both for the Titans and fantasy owners alike. And based on how some of the more talented runners have done in Palmer’s offenses in the past, C.J. will be in a good spot to improve on his 2010 totals.
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