Tennessee RB Chris Johnson: Monster or myth?

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Tennessee RB Chris Johnson: Monster or myth?

The mantra of the Chicago Bears defense is to take away an opponents run game and make that team one-dimensional, then loose the pass rush.

The stop-run concept is sound. The Bears have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 18 straight games, not since Jahvid Bests 163 in the first Detroit game last season.

Whether that is a good approach to the Tennessee Titans, however, is a matter of opinion. It may be in their best interests to just let former All-Pro Chris Johnson run.

The Bears completely throttled Johnson the last time the two teams met (2008), allowing him just eight yards in 14 carries. The Bears lost that game 21-14 because they couldnt control journeyman QB Kerry Collins.

Making nice-nice

The Bears are paying the standard game-week compliments.

Chris Johnson is a homerun hitter, said linebacker Lance Briggs.

So is Adam Dunn for the White Sox and he strikes out a lot. A lot.

Johnson may well run amok. He has in his career, with an NFL-record four touchdown runs of 80 yards or longer. Not Barry Sanders, O.J. Simpson nor anyone else has done that more than three times.

He exploded on the NFL with 2,006 yards in 2009, his second season. But the Titans were an 8-8 team that year and have only had one winning season (2011, 9-7) since Johnsons rookie season.

And the Bears are the NFLs best rushing defense at 77.9 yards per game.

Big stats vs. bad teams

But Johnson has been less than impressive over the past three years against good teams. Of his last 12 games rushing for 100 yards, only two have come against teams with winning records.

Johnson had four 100-yard games in 2011, against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Cleveland, teams with a combined record of 20-44. None of the four ranked higher than 25th against the run. His peak was 190 against the Buccaneers 32nd-ranked run defense.

This year, Johnson ran for 141 yards against the Houston Texans; the Titans were blown out by 24. He ran for 195 yards against Buffalo. The Titans needed a Matt Hasselbeck TD pass with 1 minute to play for a 35-34 escape from a team that is the NFLs worst against the run and close to firing defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt.

The Titans lavished a four-year contract extension worth as much as 53.5 million prior to last season. They have not gotten their moneys worth, although Johnson helped set the market in which Matt Forte was working this year when he got his new deal done.

But while Hasselbeck has done damage to the Bears, Johnson is the declared source of most concern.

Hes lightning. He can hit a hole with a great deal of quickness, but its his ability to cut back and break outside, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. I mean, hes something.

Just what exactly isnt always or entirely clear.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Welcoming David DeJesus to the CSN team

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Welcoming David DeJesus to the CSN team

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio/Fansided) join Chuck Garfien on the panel. The Bears will reportedly bring Mark Sanchez in to Halas Hall? Really? Sanchez? Why?

The Bulls blow another big lead. Is Jimmy Butler to blame?

Plus the guy discuss if the White Sox are close to dealing Jose Quintana, Scott Paddock updates NASCAR's Monster Energy Cup Series and we welcome David DeJesus to the CSN team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Lake Zurich linebacker Jack Sanborn gives verbal commitment to Wisconsin

Lake Zurich linebacker Jack Sanborn gives verbal commitment to Wisconsin

Lake Zurich four-star inside linebacker Jack Sanborn decided to end his recruiting process Wednesday night, giving the Wisconsin Badgers his verbal commitment.

"(Wisconsin) has everything I was looking for," Sanborn said. "I believe I can't go wrong there. They have the academics, great football, the campus is amazing. I feel comfortable there with all of the coaches and the players as well."

Sanborn is the eight known verbal commitment for the Badgers in the Class of 2018 and the second from Illinois, joining Lyons Township quarterback Ben Bryant.

Sanborn is currently ranked as the third-best Illinois player in the Class of 2018 and is one of seven ranked in the top 10 to give an early verbal commitment.

The Class of 2018 won't sign a Letter of Intent until Feb. 1 of next year.