I looked at some of the positives of the Redskins preseason opener against the Titans yesterday, but there were plenty of things the Redskins needed to learn from too. The Titans had two big running plays that went for long touchdown runs. The first was Chris Johnson's 58 yard run.
This is a typical zone run from the Titans, something the Redskins defense sees every day in practice. Chris Johnson will begin his run to the right side of the line before cutting it all the way back. The two defensive keys to this play are Brian Orakpo and rookie Phillip Thomas. Orakpo is going to charge up the field believing quarterback Jake Locker is faking a hand off and bootlegging out. That effectively makes this play exactly like a read-option run. Orakpo is "blocked" by the quarterback, leaving an extra blocker.
Phillip Thomas is naturally drawn in towards the play side of the run, but the Titans have an extra blocker from Orakpo attacking the bootleg. That leaves a big hole between the two backside defenders for Johnson to cut back into.
Thomas gets cut off from the play while Orakpo tries his best to get back and make a tackle. Bacarri Rambo is now forced to come down from his single high safety position and try to make the tackle.
Orakpo can't make the play, leaving Rambo as the only defender available to make a tackle. Rambo's angle of attack is slightly off. He came charging down as fast as he could, but didn't get himself in a position to cut off the run. So now Rambo has to slow down and adjust to Johnson's running path.
Johnson recognizes that Rambo is having to adjust his angle, and makes a ridiculous cut back across Rambo.
Then Johnson is off to the races. They're aren't many players in the NFL that could catch him at this point.
I saw Rambo took a lot of criticism for this play (and the other touchdown run), but I think this play is more on Orakpo and Thomas. They left a massive lane for Johnson to cut back into. Sure, Rambo didn't take the best angle to make a tackle on Johnson, but there aren't many safeties in the league that could come down from a single high safety position to make a tackle on Chris Johnson.