Titans running back Chris Johnson broke off the longest run of his career, a 94-yard touchdown, in last year’s meeting with the Jets. As the Jets prepare to meet the Titans on Sunday, they want to make sure they don’t see Johnson running full speed in the open field again.
Jets linebacker David Harris says he and his teammates know the key to stopping Johnson is to bottle him up early and keep him from getting into space.
“You have to keep him in front of you,” Harris said. “You can’t let him get outside because no one on this defense is fast enough to catch him from behind. We need 11 guys on this defense running to the ball on every play and the big men up front have to be responsible for their gap.”
So far this season, opposing defenses have been doing a good job of keeping Johnson in front of them. Johnson has gained just 256 yards on 69 carries, an average of 3.7 yards per rush, with a long run of just 23 yards, and no touchdowns. But Harris still thinks the Titans’ running game is a threat.
“They’re a running team,” Harris said. “They have a strong, nasty offensive line. They take after their head coach [Mike Munchak] and offensive line coach [Bruce Mathews], who are two Hall-of-Fame guys. So, if I were them, I’d take after them, too. That’s what they do best and we know that.”
Last year the Jets saw first hand just how hard it is to catch Johnson from behind. They hope there won’t be another play on Sunday when all 11 players on the Jets’ defense are looking at the back of Johnson’s jersey.