Titans' Chris Johnson a tough test for Jets run defense
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets run defense is looking good, real good through it's first three games. But the ultimate test is coming this weekend when the Jets travel to Tennessee to face the Titans and Chris Johnson, the king of the long touchdown run.
Johnson, you may remember, is the back who humiliated the Jets with a 94-yard touchdown last December in the game that officially eliminated them from the playoffs. Johnson, widely acknowledged as one of the fastest men in the NFL, is the only player in NFL history with six touchdown runs over 80 yards. No other player has more than three.
Don't think that the Jets aren't talking about that run in their defensive meetings this week. It doesn't matter that the team has seven new starters. Those who weren't there last year have heard plenty about it from those who were.
"Chris Johnson is a big-time back," rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. "He'll take one to the crib with a blink of an eye. He runs a 4.2. I wasn't here last year, but I know all about him."
The Jets defense, however, is quite a different one than Johnson ripped through last December. The addition of the 294-pound Richardson, a first-round draft choice, to a front seven that also includes two improving young players -- 6-5, 315-pound Muhammad Wilkerson and 6-6, 290-pound linebacker Quinton Coples -- has given the Jets a lot more muscle up front.
"What I see is they have a lot of young guys who are very good and very athletic," Johnson said in a conference call with Jets reporters Wednesday. "I have my work cut out for me."
The Jets enter Week 4 ranked sixth in rushing yards allowed, holding their opponents to 79.7 per game. Week after week, the Jets have held running backs in check. Last weekend, the Jets held Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to 81 yards on 17 carries.
The Titans see the Jets as a big challenge. Both teams are 2-1. And both would be exceeding almost everyone's expectations if they opened the season at 3-1.
"They're front seven is pretty good size and they have a nice mixture of young guys and veterans," Titans coach Mike Munchak said about the Jets defense. "They're playing well right now. they're keeping the scores down low. They've been the strength of the defense."