The Steelers defense will have their hands full once again this week looking to stop Titans running back Chris Johnson.
“He is an amazing player, one of the best backs in the league, no question about that,” said defensive end
“He is definitely a handful. We all have to be gap-sound and play team ball.”
Johnson has amassed 4,797 yards in just three and a quarter seasons, including rushing for 2,006 yards in 2009.
“He has unbelievable speed, something you can’t coach,” said cornerback
Johnson’s numbers are down right now, with 199 yards on 69 carries through four games, but he is coming off a 101 yard performance against the Cleveland Browns last week.
“He is the X-factor,” added cornerback
The Steelers are a team that prides themselves on stopping the run, but are currently ranked 22nd in the NFL against the run, allowing 4.8 yards per carry and giving up 119.5 rushing yards per game.
“We have a lot of pride with our run defense and it hasn’t been up to par to this point,” said Keisel. “We definitely need to get that turned around if we want to win games.
“There is tradition here. We still have a lot of the same guys who have been here year in and year out. We need to put it together and do it for 60 minutes.”
The defense has also allowed two 100-yard rushers in the first four games of the season, something that pains them.
“It is the most frustrating thing ever,” said
“To be going through the situation we are now, to be in a game in the midst of a 100-yard game, and not just as a team they got 100 yards, but for one player to be excelling against us is extremely frustrating and it’s embarrassing. It’s like a fighter who has never been knocked out get punched in the face and buckle. It’s something we need to change.”
The good news is there is something that players are able to point to in order to make that change.
“It’s nothing that we can’t figure out,” said Taylor. “We just need to get back to playing our style of football and that is physical, aggressive football.”
That includes sound tackling, something defenders have been focusing on this week.
“The biggest thing is going out and preparing each week, working on your techniques out here in practice,” said Keisel. “We don’t tackle but you can break down and get in a tackling position where you know you will be able to make that play. You have to carry that into the game, carry your practice work into the game and we will be ready to go.”