Colts Q&A With Charlie Johnson

Rookie offensive tackle Charlie Johnson was rushed into action at right tackle when Ryan Diem was injured early in the game last Sunday night. Ed Thompson caught up with him this week to get his impressions after a great performance against Philadelphia.

Ed Thompson: You found yourself in quite a situation this past weekend…

Charlie Johnson: Yeah, early on Ryan Diem got hurt and my number was called. I think I went in and played well. And I think as a team we played well and we got a victory.

ET: What went through your mind when your number was called?

CJ: It happened really fast. I didn't really see Diem get hurt or anything, I just heard people calling my name so I ran out there really quick…just going on instinct that's about it.

ET: Tell us a little bit about your battle with Eagles defensive end Trent Cole

CJ: I knew coming in that he was a good ball player…I knew he had a good number sacks coming into the ball game. Going in I didn't know if I was going to play or not so I just prepared myself to think what I would do if I got in; I knew I had to be patient, he's a speed rusher and kind of an avoid guy - he's not really going to hit you, he tries to avoid you - so I just had to settle and not go for his face.

Q: How much did it help you having speed rushers of your own like Robert Mathis to prepare against before facing someone like Cole?

CJ: It helps a great deal and that's probably a good comparison. It helps in practice going against a guy like Robert everyday. That's what he does, he's an avoid rusher and he's really good at it. So that's good practice for me especially going into this game with a guy like Philadelphia had.

Q: Peyton Manning walked out of that game with one quarterback hit and no sacks. So you had to feel pretty good about your performance…

CJ: I did, and I was just blessed to be with the solid offensive line that I was. My goal going in was "okay, these other four guys are going to expect to not miss a beat with me in here" so I went in with that mentality that I wasn't going to be the weak link or the reason Peyton got hit. And fortunately, I think I played well enough.

Q: And then part way through the game you found yourself over on the left side for Tarik Glenn...

CJ: Yeah, it's something I do in practice. I rotate in at both spots, in case something were to happen to either guy and the situation came up. So I had to go over there for one play.

Q: Did you have any thought when you moved over to the left side about the fact that you would be protecting Peyton's blindside?

CJ: No, at that point we were really running the ball well and I knew we were going to keep running it until we had to pass it. And I saw Tarik run off, so I knew he was fine. He said he was going to come back and he wanted to come back right away, but he had to sit out for a play. I knew he would be coming back and that we were going to run the ball so it worked out.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the secret to the Colts' success blocking against the Eagles…

CJ: I don't think there's any secret. It's something the offensive line and the tight ends work on every week in practice. Our biggest deal during practice was real solid technique and knowing who you're blocking and how to go about blocking. We saw on tape that the Eagles had a really good defense, but teams were able to run the ball on them. That was one of our focuses this week at practice; running the ball and being aggressive with the run. It was a good game plan and everything worked out for us.

Q: What were the vulnerabilities you guys saw on film that you tried to exploit?

CJ: What we saw the most was just some of the formations we line up in and run our plays out of. The way they line up to our formations, they gave us six in the box and they would walk a guy out to the slot. With six in the box, you have to be able to run the ball or else they can really end up dropping seven into the passing game -- and that could really take us out of our offense.

Q: Was their frequent use of the nickel formation come as a surprise to you guys?

CJ: No not really, I know during the week we watched tape and didn't see a lot of nickel and we saw a lot of it Sunday night. But that's been the tendency of defenses all year. We don't really see a lot of what they're going to do on tape. We have to be ready for the unexpected because a lot of defenses are trying to do things they haven't shown before to try and stop us.

Check back on Saturday when Charlie will share his thoughts with our ColtPower Insiders on blocking for Joseph Addai and this weekend's matchup in Tennessee.


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