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Redskins Look to Corral Titans' Johnson


From Tony Romo to Aaron Rodgers to Peyton Manning to Michael Vick, the Redskins' 2010 schedule has been full of elite-level quarterbacks this season.

This Sunday, it's an elite running back who is expected to challenge the Redskins' defense.

In the last three seasons, Chris Johnson has emerged as one of the most explosive backs in the NFL.

He is a classic speed back with great cut-back ability.

"He's the most explosive running back in the NFL," linebacker London Fletcher said. "When you think about his ability to go from 0-60 in an instant...he can find a crease, get to the edge and out-run angles. He creates a huge challenge for us."

Added defensive coordinator Jim Haslett: "He finds a hole, and he's lightning. I've not seen too many guys as fast as him. Obviously our goal is to bottle him up. He's hard to contain. He has great vision and great speed."

Last season, Johnson became just the sixth running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

He had 358 carries for 2,006 yards – a 5.6 yards-per-carry average – and 14 touchdowns. He was also a threat out of the backfield with 50 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns.

This year, Johnson's pace has fallen off but he still remains a significant threat.

He leads the Titans with 195 carries for 838 yards – 4.3 yards per carry – and nine touchdowns. He also has 23 receptions for 97 yards.

"We have to stop Chris Johnson," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. He is a great cut-back runner and we have to make sure we fill rushing lanes and tackle him sound. We can't let him get into the secondary because he's too explosive.

"We're going to focus on tackling this week because it's something we did poorly last game."

The Redskins dropped to 25th in run defense after allowing 260 rushing yards in the 50-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Monday night.

The presence of new Titans wide receiver Randy Moss could make Johnson even more dangerous, Orakpo added.

The Titans claimed Moss off waivers on Nov. 9 after he was released by the Minnesota Vikings.

"He stretches the field," Orakpo said of Moss. "He forces our safeties to play deep because he has that vertical threat. So it's all on our front seven or front eight, whoever is in the box. We have to make sure we corral [Johnson] and run to the ball, make stuff happen. I'm excited about it because I feel like this is an opportunity to turn this thing around."

While the Redskins have faced some great quarterbacks this season, they have faced few elite-level running backs.

The last may have been Week 3 when they faced Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams.

Jackson broke loose for a 42-yard touchdown run on the Rams' first drive of the game, but he suffered a groin injury and finished with 58 rushing yards.

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