“Felt Myself Creeping Down”August 22nd, 2014
Big money free agent Michael Johnson is adjusting to his new role in a new defense.
Yes, it seems odd that an athletic defensive end like Johnson is finding it challenging to start wide at the line of scrimmage and get up the field, but that’s what’s happening.
Johnson first talked about this a couple weeks ago, but elaborated this week to Jenna Laine, of SportsTalkFlorida.com. He explained, via the video below, that staying wide and getting vertical isn’t always so easy.
“I have to constantly remind myself to do that,” Johnson said. “I even felt myself creeping down, getting tighter in the game. It’s just an old habit that, you know, I’m going to continue to work on in practice and then carry over into the game. The way we play here, they want us wider and getting upfield and getting vertical, you know, not squeezing stuff as much. It allows you to be a better rusher like that because you can be wide.”
Johnson went on to explain that his wider start is “trying to create space, and trying to create better angles to rush,” so the offensive tackle “can’t just jump you from the line of scrimmage.”
Perhaps Johnson just needs a little more time to adjust after a lackluster two preseason games and a nothing-special training camp? That seems reasonable. But it’s still hard to believe a sixth-year veteran edge rusher hasn’t dialed in faster, especially with ferocious Gerald McCoy alongside him.
(You can enjoy the full Johnson interview below.