At the risk of pulling a faux pas similar to calling Florida for Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election, the projected winner for the third running back for the Tennessee Titans is Javon Ringer.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher won’t commit to the competition being decided yet, offering only this about the rookie’s play against the Dallas Cowboys Friday night: “We drafted him because he has ability, and we have a lot of backs on the roster that have ability. I’m pleased with his preseason thus far.”
True and vague enough, but all Ringer has done in preseason is lead the team in rushing through three games and also throw himself into the kickoff return mix as well with a 51-yard runback in Friday night's 30-10 loss.
“It was a good run. He got in some traffic and bounced out,” Fisher said. “We’ve seen runners do that all the time, but we’re going to continue to look at him.”
It is no secret that Ringer is making the most of his opportunities and is distancing himself thus far from Chris Henry, Quinton Ganther and Rafael Little in the fight for the spot behind Chris Johnson and LenDale White.
With what Ringer has shown, the question now appears to be less of how Ringer is doing compared to the others he began the competition with and more of how the Titans are going to get him involved once the regular season begins.
It would not appear out of the question that Ringer, if he continues to produce at his current rate, might even carve out a few carries of his own at the expense of the backs ahead of him on the depth chart.
Ringer, who led the Big Ten in rushing last year, said he just wants to continue to do what he has been doing.
“I need to do what my goal has been to do during camp which is to continue to produce every time I get an opportunity,” Ringer said.
Thus far, his transition has from college to the NFL has appeared seamless this preseason.
“I do feel very comfortable. At least, I’m able to show that. Inside, I still have some nerves but that’s normally before any football game. Thus far, I’ve been able to go out there, handle myself well and act like I’ve been here before,” he said.
Ringer, whose 98 yards on 16 carries far and away leads the pack, can perhaps push his way not only onto the 53-man roster, but onto the game-day 45-man active roster, if he continues to hold his own on special teams.
There are still two preseason games left, and Fisher will wait until all the results are tabulated before he calls an official winner, saying all four in the race will get their chances to shine.
“We know what Q can do. We need to see some improvement out of Chris Henry and we need to find out what Javon can do in game situations,” Fisher said. “We still have two ballgames left, and there’s a good chance Q will get his carries as well as Rafael.”
For his part, Ringer said he won’t let down until all the ballots are in.
“I still want to be more comfortable with the offense. I feel there’s more opportunity to develop,” Ringer said.