Teams Now Targeting Leonard JohnsonDecember 2nd, 2012
Just a few weeks ago when Bucs rookie undrafted free agent cornerback was pressed into duty, Johnson seemed to shine. His pick-six, game-winning touchdown against Philip Rivers being Exhibit-A, and he should have officially had three picks in two games.
But with injuries and Adderall infractions rising among the ranks of the Bucs cornerbacks, Johnson has been asked to play more, and to start, and it appears opponents have decided to target him.
It all began with a bomb he gave up against San Diego. Then, in the words of former Bucs defensive lineman Steve White, Julio Jones “baptized” Johnson last week for Johnson’s second 80-yard touchdown given up in as many games.
Today it was clear that Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas were targeting the pride of Largo High School. And it worked. Two egregious plays were a pass interference Johnson gave up against Thomas (Joe would prefer a pass interference as opposed to six points) and then, when Joe thought surely Johnson was in position for an interception, Manning threaded the needle to Thomas for a key touchdown.
Now don’t get Joe wrong. Joe likes Johnson and thinks he has promise and will be around these parts for a while. But he’s a rookie. He’s learning… in some cases the hard way.
And the NFL is a copycat league. Until Johnson begins stopping some of these passes and doesn’t get whistled for interference or holding, teams are going to continue to target him.