For all the wringing of hands over Vince Young's return to Reliant on Monday night, it's understood that Chris Johnson has likely earned the focus of Frank Bush & Company. 1,091 rushing yards, an average of 6.42 yards per carry, 262 receiving yards, an average of 8.73 yards per reception, 9 TDs, and quite possibly the greatest speed in the NFL tend to take the spotlight off even VY.
For all his otherworldly talents, however, Chris Johnson has been contained at times this year. Against Pittsburgh, he was limited to 68 total yards. The Jets held him to 105 total yards in Week Three. The Jags cut him off at 94 yards in Week Four, and Week Five saw CJ post a paltry 43 total yards. Keeping Chris Johnson in check is possible, if not probable.
In their prior matchup with the Titans, your Houston Texans saw Johnson trample them for an insane 284 total yards (197 rushing/87 receiving) and 3 TDs. In other words, that Week Two loss to the Texans accounted for 18% of his rushing yards, 33% of his receiving yards, and 33% of the touchdowns he's tallied on the season. He has to be licking his chops for Monday night.
In all the Chris-Johnson-For-Jebus and Vince-Young-For-Pope hoopla, the point that might not be getting as much run is that, despite Chris Johnson having his way with the Texans in Week Two (included but not limited to lining up wide with no one within 15 yards of him pre-snap), the Texans still managed to beat the Titans in Nashville. What's more, that Texans' defense did not feature Bernard Pollard or Jacques Reeves. That defense did prominently feature Fred Bennett, Nick Ferguson, and Dominique Barber, none of whom are likely to see the field on anything but special teams (at best) come Monday night. Just as VY makes the Titans' offense a different animal, the Texans' defense has evolved into something entirely different.
My question is simple: If you're Frank Bush, what do you do to contain Chris Johnson? My initial thought is that you have to spy him, but with who? Pollard? Brian Cushing? DeMeco Ryans? For those of you who saw any of the games where CJ was held in check, what did those defenses do?
We've all heard and read how teams want to shift the burden to Vince Young and the rest of the offense. Implicit in that assertion is containing Chris Johnson. How do you do it?Titans vs Texans coverage