The Washington Post

Panthers defensive player to watch: DE Charles Johnson

DE CHARLES JOHNSON

How he beats you: The fifth-year pro, who leads the Panthers with five sacks, beats his opponents by getting a good jump off the ball and with great acceleration off the edge. Johnson, 6 feet 2 and 275 pounds, uses a diverse bag of tricks to get to the quarterback. He generally lines up on the right side, but he doesn’t always stay there. He is a “bull rusher, speed guy and they move him around to all the different positions — left side, right side, inside, outside,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said.

How to stop him: Johnson at times struggles to shed blockers and make stops in the running game, and the key for Sean Locklear, who will face him the most as the Redskins’ left tackle, will be to get under Johnson’s pads and use his strength to win battles. If Washington can get the running game going, it’ll go a long way toward keeping Johnson from being able to constantly pin his ears back and go after quarterback John Beck.

Bottom line: Johnson and his teammates struggle when it comes to stopping to run, ranking next to last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Balance will be key for the Redskins, because if they get in a situation where they are throwing the ball all the time, Johnson will attack that weakened left side of the offensive line and give Beck troubles all day.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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