The Jets received a jolt in their offensive backfield as Chris Johnson was full go on Day 1 of training camp here at SUNY Cortland.
"It looks like his legs are back. It certainly seems like he has that burst," SI.com's Don Banks told me following Thursday's workout. "It's interesting that they seem to be wanting to use him a lot maybe throwing him the ball out of the backfield, trying to get him in space and let him use his elusiveness to the utmost benefit."
Johnson, a 5'11", 203-pounder who spent his first six pro seasons with the Tennessee Titans, had surgery to repair a torn meniscus this offseason before signing with the Jets in April. After Johnson missed all of team activities during OTAs and minicamp, he flew through the conditioning test Wednesday in Florham Park, NJ and then he got off on the right foot in Central, NY.
"He looks great and we're doing a lot of different things with him," said head coach Rex Ryan. "We had him flexed out at receiver, bringing him in motion, doing some different things (and) you see that speed that he has."
As the primary back in Tennessee, Johnson averaged 4.6 yards a carry and 45 receptions per season. Happy for a fresh start, Johnson has said that he wants to prove doubters wrong.
"He seems like he has that typical change locations rejuvenation, re-energized feeling about him," Banks said. "I think he gives them an element that they've been missing. They have other running backs to do different things, but as far as just being able to run away from people and also make people miss — Chris Johnson, if he is all the way back — adds that to this offense."
Although Johnson had his moments in the non-padded practice, he put the ball on the ground on a handoff attempt from Mike Vick. Battering ram Chris Ivory was limited today with a tweaked hamstring, but the Jets are loaded at RB. Johnson gives them more versatility and a unique big play threat.
"That kind of game breaker out of the backfield it certainly will get your attention. The kid up in Buffalo, (C.J.) Spiller, is one of those guys that has that kind of speed," Ryan said. Chris — obviously your antenna's up there every time he comes out of that backfield. If he motion's out, the DBs know."