Aaron Smith Stuffing the Run

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Chris Johnson is an amazing player. It’s hard to put into words his speed. Harder still to shut down that speed. With his ability to slide, glide and hit the after-burners, keeping containment is like riding a bull. You are always just barely hanging on.

In the second quarter Johnson turned a 2nd and 15 from the Tennessee 15-yard line into an 85-yard burst. It was brought back on a penalty, when Titans center Eugene Amano put the “Habeus Grabus” to Steelers nosetackle Chris Hoke. But it shows just how close to the edge every carry with Johnson potentially can be.

Penetration is one of the keys to off-set the nitro-glycerin capabilities of Johnson. Stuff the line and drive them backwards, keeping the ‘backers clean and creating indecision on Johnson’s part.

One of the stalwarts of the defensive line who put in a dominating performance on Sunday in Nashville was Steelers DE Aaron Smith. He wrecked the day not only of Chris Johnson, but Titan tackle Dave Stewart and guard Jake Scott. Whether Smith lined head-up on Stewart, or a 3-technique (outside shoulder of Scott), Smith got constant penetration and blew up the launch pad before the Johnson could launch.

I’m not talking just a little penetration, I mean penetration the way the iceberg got the Titanic. Aaron was 3-yards deep and throwing offensive linemen into the lap of Johnson.

If you want to get a little Chris Johnson perspective, the next time you head outside at half-time to toss the ball around, have your buddy run with the ball and get your other pals to throw 300lb chairs at him, and then come in and pile on. Ouch.

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