How the Titans can stop Andre Johnson and the Texans

Thomas B. Shea

Is this the year that the Titans finally stop Andre Johnson?

Andre Johnson may not have the most gaudy numbers when facing the Titans, but he does consistently prove to be an outlet WR that makes tough, crucial catches. However, this could very well be the year the Titans stop him thanks to three things.

Firstly, the Titans are experimenting with putting taller corners in the mix like Tommie Campbell (6'3") and Blidi Wreh-Wilson (6'1"). If the Titans can eliminate A.J.'s size advantage then they can take away those jump balls and the inside routes where Johnson would shield the defender from the ball.

Secondly, Gregg Williams is having an influence on the defense with his personality, but schematically he also made a big change. This year the Titans will press the WRs on the line of scrimmage making it more difficult to get a free release like Johnson has done for so many years versus Tennessee. An older, slower Andre Johnson should struggle with this and force him to work a lot more for those 10+ yard passes.

Finally, the Titans have a punishing safety that is not afraid to crush someone down-field. Bernard Pollard gives the Titans that legitimate enforcer for the first time in years. The last person I can remember that struck fear into the Titans opponents like this is Albert Haynesworth. Since then, the Titans have had a void in terms of physicality (despite Finny's best efforts) but nearly five years later they may have found that spark.

All these things point to tough sledding for the aging former All-Pro. If they do prove too much for him then the Titans new run defense may help to put the reigning AFC South Champions to bed, now all they have to worry about is the Colts....

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