"Smash and Dash," they called Titans RBs LenDale White and Chris Johnson. On paper, that's an ideal pairing — one back tires out the defense, the other runs over its tired bodies.
But from the moment he ripped off a long TD run in his first preseason game as a pro in 2008, it was clear Johnson would become the focal point of the Titans' offense. Sure, the 235-pound White could soften a defense, but that takes time. By contrast, all Johnson needs is a little crease and a defensive back with a B-minus grasp of geometry, and he is gone.
Now White is gone, sent to Seattle on Saturday to work again with his former college coach Pete Carroll in a new-look Seahawks backfield. The Titans will give what little carries that won't go to Johnson to young Javon Ringer.
We tend to forget White is young, too, just 25, not that far removed from being the powerful complement to Reggie Bush at USC. His Titans résumé has some line items to be proud of — a 1,110-yard season in 2007, 15 rushing TDs in 2008. The accomplishments speak to a wealth of natural talent that White possesses. He is nimble for a big back.
In the past, he has been a little too big, but he slimmed down before last season, which is a credit to him. To be effective now and in the future, he will need to make conditioning a priority. There are carries to be had in Seattle, many more so than there were in Tennessee. The Seahawks have some swift backs, too, but none like Chris Johnson.
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