Chris Johnson is laying down the gauntlet for himself in an attempt to get the recognition he believes he deserves.
The Tennessee Titans running back (pictured) is shooting to become the first man to rush for 2,000 yards in a season twice. He not only wants the single-season rushing record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984, he wants to be league MVP.
"I'm shooting for 2,500 [yards]," he told the Associated Press, "but I'll be happy with anything over the record.
"A player never did it twice, back-to-back," the third-year pro out of East Carolina added about the possibility of a second straight 2,000-yard season (he had 2,006 last year, including 11 100+ yard games and another 228-yard game). "I don't think they would have a choice [but to give him the MVP]."
Peyton Manning won his fourth MVP award last season with 39 1/2 votes. Three other QBs — Drew Brees (7 1/2), Philip Rivers (2) and Brett Favre (1) — garnered votes, but Johnson surprisingly didn't appear on anyone's ballot. He did win the AP's Offensive Player of the Year award.
All four quarterbacks led their teams to playoff appearances, while the Titans finished 8-8.
Of the six running backs to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, Barry Sanders recorded the most rushing yards the following season with 1,491 on eight more carries in 1997. Dickerson only played 14 games in 1985 and amassed 1,234 yards.
While 2,500 yards seems nearly impossible with defenses keying on Johnson every week, Craig Johnson (no relation), the Titans new assistant head coach and running backs assistant, said there are still ways for Johnson to improve.
"Maybe if he made a quicker cut here or a slower cut there," he said. "Again, we're being critical. When you get to the level he is at, you're talking about small things, but the small things make a big difference. That is my charge for him ... to find those small things, and even if it's 2 percent better, that will make a difference."
Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher is all for Johnson trying to improve his game, as it can only benefit the team.
"Help us win more games would be very realistic," Fisher said.
Added Johnson: "I come up short and we make the playoffs, it's no problem."