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How to Best Use LenDale White and Chris Johnson

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How to Best Use LenDale White and Chris Johnson

The 2008 season was dominated by "Smash and Dash": LenDale White and Chris Johnson.

The Titans’ running backs used this nickname long before Carolina’s running backs did, and it fits them better, too. White and Johnson are more of a dynamic contrast to each other.

White’s size and power made him unstoppable in goal-line situations, and Johnson’s breakaway speed put fear in defenders’ hearts every time he touched the ball.

One thing I noticed was that the two of them were rarely on the field together.

This slide show offers things you could do with a formation that featured both Johnson and White. White is on the strong side of this formation, so he can benefit from the blocking of the tight end. Johnson is on the left side of the quarterback.

I had been referring to this as a split backs formation, until I found out that was the wrong name for it. Since then, I’ve just been calling it the Smash and Dash formation.

In a split backs formation, the running backs are placed farther behind the quarterback, and there is more distance between the two running backs. Because of that, split backs actually favors the pass.

This formation, which is technically not split backs, favors the run, because the running backs are closer to the line of scrimmage.

With both backs on the field, defenses are less sure of what type of play to defend against, meaning that they have to design plays to effectively contain White and Johnson at the same time. This strains the defense and opens up room for the passing game as well.

In that sense, Smash and Dash are both highly relevant threats when on the field together.

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