Calling Michael Johnson

August 17th, 2014

michael johnson 0805The warm and fuzzy, happy-to-double-our-win-total crowd may not care about a prized Bucs defensive end looking anemic in the preseason, but Joe can’t ignore it.

So far, the real Michael Johnson, the one Tampa Bay paid handsomely, hasn’t shown up.

In his postgame news conference last night, Lovie Smith insisted Johnson will come on and have lots of sacks and make plays this season. Hey, Joe’s hoping and praying that happens. And no, Joe’s not talking about “making plays” like the easy fumble recovery Johnson had tonight, when he was in his usual position — a few yards from the quarterback.

Yes, Joe has high expectations. Lovie himself has spoken repeatedly about how the edge rusher is critical in his defense.

Heck, that’s why Lovie paid so much green for a guy coming off a 3 1/2 sack season in Cincinnati. The investment was about Johnson’s ceiling as an edge rusher, Lovie said, not about the numbers Johnson posted or the sacks that didn’t fall his way.

Bucs fans saw Gerald McCoy rip through double teams last night and absolutely dominate poor Dolphins starting right guard Dallas Thomas. Johnson was invisible, as he was against Jacksonville. He hasn’t done much to speak of in practice, either.

Lovie and Jason Licht have each said repeatedly — and with pride — that it would be unfair to expect Bucs fans to be patient. That’s one reason Lovie and Licht were so aggressive in free agency, they said, and their initial target was Johnson.

Yes, Joe expects Johnson to produce. Maybe not now, but it must happen out of the gate on opening day. There are no excuses.

Johnson is playing alongside one the greats of the game in a defense that pretty much only demands defensive ends beat the guy in front of them and dump a quarterback a few times a month. That shouldn’t be tough duty for a big-money, healthy, 27-year-old veteran.

44 Responses to “Calling Michael Johnson”

  1. JSmalls Says:

    Bust, dude was sucking wind 6 plays in

  2. Barry Says:


  3. biff barker Says:

    Who is this Johnson fellow in which you speak of Joe?

  4. Phred Says:

    One glimmer of hope: McCoy has the ability to make the players around him better. If Johnson succeeds, it will be because of Gerald McCoy.

    Last night, McCoy was beating people like they owed him money. He can’t keep doing it alone though.

  5. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    “happy-to-double-our-win-total crowd”

    Yes, approving of .500 ball in the first year of a new head coach and GM, 40+ new faces on roster, new to the NFL Offensive Coordinator, new offense, new O line, and new QB is just outrageous.

    The last time the team had a new GM and coach, they went 3-13. I also would have been happy if they had gone 8-8

  6. Kevin Says:

    McCoy looked NASTY!!!!!!!!! They need to pay the man because he is the best. Johnson better show up…

  7. Harry Says:

    Preseason game or not, every D lineman should have had an awesome game last night, but they were just “ok” (outside of McCoy). Given that the Dolphins Oline sucks and that McCoy was being double teamed all night, where was everyone else? If the center is coming over to double McCoy, why is the other D-tackle not penetrating? Where is Clayborn? Johnson?

    Overall, the D played great. But considering how weak the Phins Oline is and McCoy’s play I was hoping to see something more out of our other D linemen.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here is a novel idea……why not stack our #1 DEs against the opponen’t thrid strimg Oline and see if they can win that battle…..I haven’t seen a consistent pass rush from our Bucs in over 10 years…….
    We are not putting any pressure on opposing QBs even on obvious passing plays.

  9. GreatStuff Says:

    This dude reminds me of gains Adams. He looks lost on a rush. All I’ve noticed is He gets swallowed by the tackle. Heck he couldn’t beat a TE last night 1 on 1. One play he faked a rush then just jumped in the air because he was tired if getting killed by the tackle. He looks very much like a 3 sack guy definitely not enough talent to be a 13 sack guy for which he is being paid. Reminds me of Gaines Adams. Also, if he can’t flash against our o-line on practice what makes me think he can flash in a game. Only reason he got that fumble was because his rush was so bad he was 5 yards away from the QB

  10. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Expecting this guy to post double digit sacks on a regular basis is silly. I do hope he does this season though but from the looks of him, it’s unrealistic. Carolina will have a new left tackle, and so will Atlanta though probably.

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    When Lovie is on camera on the sidelines he has a look of bewilderment watching the team play. Maybe thinking, I’m too old for this, what the heck did I get myself into.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    FYI, NFLN airs the game at 3am tonight.

  13. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think Spence did pretty good too. He got no sacks of course, but he wasn’t man handled. And he was great in the run blocking. I was skeptical of Michael Johnson from the start, but he’ll have the entire season to prove himself. I felt the comparisons to Rice were way off base though.

    btw, watching the Raiders vs Lions game. If you think our oline is bad, you should see the Raiders. And Matt Schaub is so afraid of being hit he throws at the ground every time (so far).

  14. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Both our QBs stand in there and take the hits as they get the passes off, so that’s a positive for the Bucs.

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Stafford is top notch in this game. Best of his class.

  16. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    funny how everyone ignores the invisible clayborn. If this keeps up , the bucs have no D-ends. we might as well line up the 4 defensive tackles!!!

  17. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I watched Johnson when he was in the game last night, and I saw what Joe saw. He seemed to have only two moves…either to slowly try to beat his man to the edge (which he never did) or to bull rush straight into the tackle where he consistently got stonewalled after a yard or two. I even saw our new “prized” rusher drop back into coverage on a couple of occasions! What the hell???? Gerald McCoy always seems to rocket out of his stance and get into the backfield, Johnson by comparison looks slow. McCoy looks like a violent wrecking ball, while Johnson just looks tired. I know it’s only preseason, but Michael Johnson needs to start showing why we paid all that money for him, because right now, he’s making Will Golston look like the best DE we have on the team….hope Golston is alright, he might be getting a lot more playing time than we thought come September.

  18. BFFL Says:

    The 2nd and 3rd string were horrible. I was hoping this team would have better debts, but it is crystal clear that is not the case. Better hope we don’t have injuries or it will be a long year.

  19. chris Says:

    Hmm, if this was the last administration, we would crucify them for…..A free agent DE with only 3 1/2 sacks last year looking like a bust, a third round needless pick for a rb, who may not have been bpa, out, probably for the year. Things are not too promising for the big turnaround that was promised.

  20. Louis Friend Says:

    Hey Joe, he’s played 33 snaps in 2 games. Why not give him a little longer before you start getting ‘concerned’ or whatever word you’re stirring the pot with.

  21. Louis Friend Says:

    Some of you other guys are like a bunch of old ladies in a sewing circle – just waiting for the next TMZ story to give you someone to complain about.

  22. GreatStuff Says:

    This dude reminds me of gains Adams. He looks lost on a rush. All I’ve noticed is He gets swallowed by the tackle. Heck he couldn’t beat a TE last night 1 on 1. One play he faked a rush then just jumped in the air because he was tired if getting killed by the tackle. He looks very much like a 3 sack guy definitely not enough talent to be a 13 sack guy for which he is being paid. If he can’t flash against our o-line on practice what makes me think he can flash in a game. Only reason he got that fumble was because his rush was so bad he was 5 yards away from the QB

  23. Jon Says:

    I have said it from day 1. He’s not going to produce near the level of pay. Not close. Gruden-no, Zimmer-no, Lewis-no…L&L Yes and a huge payday. Still not sold on evaluations but again lovie and this defense I am happy for that. Defensive system that is.

  24. bucrightoff Says:

    You know if you give up Revis to sign 3 players with the same money, and Revis is better than all 3 of those players combined, you still come out worse. The Bucs gave Johnson $17 million more in total contract than his career sack total ($43 million vs 26 career sacks). He was always a risky signing, very much like Eric Wright. We’ll see if it ends up the same.

  25. buc4lyfe Says:

    The only Johnson I’m worried about is Leonard…. That dude was facing slots guys I never heard of and getting roasted, can’t worry about Michael Johnson when a team rushes for -5 against them in the first half

  26. Tomcin Says:

    New coaches. New players=Same ol Bucs.

  27. Gus Says:

    @lyfe Hardline is one of the best slot receivers in the league

  28. SAMCRO Says:

    For one thing Johnson played right defensive end and McCoy played across from Dolphins RG Thomas, so Johnson didn’t benefit by playing next to McCoy, like you stated. If anything Gholston should have benefitted. Also, only on a few occasions was McCoy double-teamed, and they were just first contact chip shots. For the most part McCoy abused Thomas one on one. I understand you are trying to make a point, but exaggerating the actual circumstances is just not honest to the player you are criticizing. Yes, Johnson needs to step it up, I do agree with that part.

  29. billy buckaroo Says:

    4 man def front all night and Johnson and the others kept everyone so busy that it allowed Mccoy to run rampant. Other teams are going to have trouble contending with Mccoy this year if Johnson and the others command attention from their offensive lineman like last night. I liked it. When they start doubling Mccoy which they will have to do it is going to fun to watch the others. If they keep this up with just the front four the blitz packages and stunts should have great success and be fun to watch. This looks like it has great possibilities!

  30. Robbie_G Says:

    Everyone says Clayborn and Bowers need ot step up, this dude got the large payday, and he has not been living up, not even close.

  31. buc4lyfe Says:

    Gus Says:
    August 17th, 2014 at 10:52 am
    @lyfe Hardline is one of the best slot receivers in the league

    Who the hell is hardline!!!! It’s shows you how blind fans are how pathetic! HARTLINE had 1 catch for like 5 yards. I know what the hell Hartline looks like and I know almost every third down catch was across the middle against the slot guy. I know ronde barber went soft on Johnson in the broadcast instead of admitting his mistakes. Ronde barber played at a hall of fame level just because he sits down with an undrafted rookie it doesn’t mean he has the talent to play up to his standards

  32. Yar Says:

    Clowney looking pretty good now, huh.

  33. Andrew 1 Says:

    To be honest, I know everyone was excited when we signed him but I felt like he wasn’t going to be much of an impact player when we got him, and I still feel that way. Went back and watched him play, and I noticed he is good at the bull rush and good at his speed rush, BUT he is not great at any one of those things, thus he has a difficult time getting past the tackle. Now, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost and that we made a huge mistaking signing him because I still think he can help in other ways, and I think we will still have a lot of sacks as a TEAM. But as far as him ever getting say 12 plus sacks, I just don’t see it.

  34. Louis Friend Says:

    Once again – he’s had 33 TOTAL snaps in 2 games and you people are ready to call it bad signing??

    Overreact much, folks?

  35. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    If I was Michael Johnson, I would buy the hat that has the fake dreads out the back. Then just run on field wildly while still doing nothing. For some reason that makes you a “Great” player around these parts.

  36. BUC4LIFE79 Says:

    Hey Joe, you left out the part where AC on the other side of that line hasn’t shown ANYTHING either. But if everyone would realize that GMC is SO FAST OFF THE LINE, both end positions really can’t keep up. It would be like if Sapp had Rice’s outside speed but from his inside position. No, this is a trying to make something outta nothing story. Anybody REALLY think the Panther’s O line won’t be triple teaming GMC by game one?? that’s when the outside of the line will come alive.

  37. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Louis Friend

    When I say I went back and watched him play, I meant while he was in Cincinnati not Tampa. I just don’t think he will ever be a dominant DE like a Simeon Rice. Anthony Collins on the other hand will be a stud.

  38. WyomimgBucsFan Says:

    The problem with the ends not getting sacks is that the ball is coming out to fast. The coverage is not there. Its one two three and the ball is out to a wide open player. If you watch the tape its clear as day. If we can get some better coverage then Johnson will get the production everyone expects. GMC is the exception to this problem because he is beating his man faster then anyone in the league right now.

  39. Christopher Says:

    Yar Says:
    August 17th, 2014 at 11:39 am
    Clowney looking pretty good now, huh.

    Buddy we never had a prayer.

  40. Brandon Says:

    Yeah, he’s a bust, he’s terrible, blah blah blah. It’s preseason, I just hope he and our other main components stay healthy and are ready to go when the games actually count. I don’t give an EFF what he does in the preseason just as long as it isn’t getting hurt.

  41. BucPuck Says:

    He just has not flashed at all. He just does not seem like a guy that is hungry to make plays. Maybe he can turn it on when he wants, but I am nervous too.

  42. dmatt Says:

    I said all along before grabbing Michael Johnson we should have grabbed Peppers or Jared Allen.

    Peppers finished the 2013 season with 31 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed, 2 stuffs, and 1 defensive touchdown.

    JAllen finished the 2013 season with Total tackles 52, Solo 33, Assist 19, Sacks 11.5, Pass defense 6, Forced fumble 2.

    At their age, they may be older, but respectively, they both play young, hungry, and relentless. They use their height, power, and speed on every down. I’ll give Michael Johnson game 1 of regular season to prove himself.

  43. buc4lyfe Says:


    If something were to ever happen to AC God forbid, your gonna be the prime suspect brought in for questioning ya Damn psycho!!! Get over it dude not everybody’s mom breast fed, your a lonely bitter hater

  44. Jon Says:

    To the Buc Realist. Besides being racist. At least Clayborn has posted tackles this year instead of you Arian Michael Johnson I guess. Loser