Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk has a message for Titans fans and fantasy football owners: Be patient with Chris Johnson.
"I am going to give him probably two to three more games. He's going to need a few weeks of practice where he can get in there in pads, and get comfortable," Faulk said. "And once you can get him up to speed in practice it only takes about two games before we see the explosiveness, before we see that home-run hitter that he is, back on the field."
Coming off a 35-day contract holdout, Johnson had nine carries and 24 yards against the Jaguars. He should get 20-25 touches on Sunday against the Ravens, Coach Mike Munchak said.
The Titans are being smart with Johnson, according to Faulk.
"I like their approach with Chris, understanding that when backs hold out all of camp, the majority of the time they get hurt," Faulk said. "They have to be careful with him and I like what they are doing. …. Nine carries, that is never enough. And to average just 2.7 yards? I think he could do that in his sleep."
In his last game against the Ravens, during the playoffs in January 2009, Johnson was averaging 6.5 yards per carry when he left the game with an injury.
"He is their offense, he's their heartbeat,'' Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. "If you look at what they did last weekend … you've got to know that he's definitely going to touch the football a lot this week. And we're prepared for it. … It should be a great test for us."
Hope streak ends
Safety Chris Hope (shoulder) won't play against the Ravens, ending his starts streak at 49.
He suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Jaguars and did not practice this week.
"The strength, it is going to take more than a couple of days to have him ready to play on Sunday in the way he wants to be able to play,'' Munchak said. "We will definitely hold him this week and see how he is next week."
Jordan Babineaux will replace Hope. The eighth-year pro and former Seahawk has 29 starts, but none since 2009.
"These are the moments as a player that you embrace,'' Babineaux said. "I am excited, I am ready to go out and showcase who I am and what I can do, and most importantly, make the guys around me better."
Wide receiver Damian Williams (hamstring) and defensive end William Hayes (shoulder) did not practice Friday and are listed as questionable on the team's injury report. They are not expected to play.
Running back Javon Ringer (back), defensive end Derrick Morgan (knee) and defensive end Jason Jones (knee) practiced for the third straight day and are expected to play.
Bodog.com has raised the odds of the Titans winning Super Bowl XLVI from 80-1 to 100-1. The site has the over-under for Johnson's rushing yards against the Ravens at 65½ and his receiving yards at 25½.
The Ravens returned almost 300 tickets from their allotment. They are available through Ticketmaster and at the LP Field box office.
The Titans will wear white jerseys and light blue pants Sunday.
Reach Jim Wyatt at 615-259-8015 or firstname.lastname@example.org