Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is well aware of the Titans newest offensive weapon—
"A lot of speed. He's giving them big-play ability. He's touched the ball, he's given them a chance to make a big play all through the preseason, he's done it in the regular season. He did it in Cincinnati last week. We're facing a little bit of a different group from a standpoint of it not being (QB) Vince (Young) but (QB) Kerry (Collins), who's a very accomplished player in this league. And them having that speedster back there is a little bit different from that standpoint."
To match up with the speed of Chris Johnson
, the Titans have Lendale White
, who ran for better than 1100 yards a year ago. White is a tough, inside runner who has good feet and can pound defenses. Together, their combination of "thunder and lightning" is a nightmare for opposing defenses, and although it's surprising to many in the media that they've found success this quickly, it isn't to Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher.
"We expected to see these things," Fisher said. "We were very, very pleased with what we saw during the OTA's to preseason and training camp. He's (RB Chris Johnson) a special guy with special talents, and we just have to find ways to give him the ball."
The Texans running game isn't quite as noteworthy, as projected starter Ahman Green
will likely miss Sunday's game with an ankle sprain. Even with Green in the lineup, it seems as if most Texans fans hold their breath with each touch of the ball, almost waiting for the inevitable injury.
"As of right now, if we played today, it would be (RB Steve) Slaton and (RB) Chris (Taylor) and (RB) Darius (Walker) would be up," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak explained to reporters. "(RB) Ahman (Green) still didn't practice today and I would say, I keep telling you he's day-to-day but I'd say he's very doubtful for this week."
Rookie Steve Slaton
was the team's leading rusher in their week one defeat in Pittsburgh, and the speedy back will likely make his first start on Sunday. Slaton showed in the preseason that he can be much more than a third down back, and if the Texans are going to find success offensively and stay balanced, a lot of the work will have to come from the legs of the rookie from West Virginia
Tennessee Head Coach Jeff Fisher normally throws out compliments like manhole covers, but had a few nice things to say about Slaton.
"Very impressive. Yeah, very, very impressive. The runs against Dallas in the pre-season and he (RB Steve Slaton) hit a couple of tough runs against the Steelers which is a group that is typically hard to run against. He's a good player. We thought highly of him in our draft room."
Sunday's matchup will be much more than Chris Johnson vs. Steve Slaton, but the two rookie speedsters are expected to star. It is likely that with good performances, these two will begin to take on more of the rushing load for each of their respective clubs.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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It was unclear the impact that both rookie running backs Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton would have with their respective teams early in the season. Johnson, who many felt the Titans selected too soon with the 24th overall pick, has dazzled in Tennessee's two victories, and at this point certainly seems like the best running back on the Titans roster.