All Eyes On Michael JohnsonSeptember 4th, 2014
There is a lot of pressure on Bucs defensive end Michael Johnson. Tampa Bay dropped a whole lot of cash on him for one thing and one thing only: to dirty opposing quarterbacks’ jerseys.
(Yet, again, Joe was Twittered by a loyal reader insisting on invoking the name of Simeon Rice in discussing Johnson. Can we stop this idiotic trend? Joe doesn’t give a damn how much cash Johnson earns. Does anyone really believe he is a borderline Hall of Famer? How about let Johnson become the next Michael Bennett — who former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik let walk away for no good reason — before we begin comparing Johnson to Rice, which almost made Warren Sapp throwup this summer. It’s not only stupid, but unfair to Johnson and a slap in the face to Rice.)
Of all the cash the Bucs dropped on free agents this past spring — and it was a boatload — perhaps no one will be in the cross-hairs like Johnson, noted the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, when he held court with former Bucs defensive linemen Booger McFarland and Steve White recently on WHFS-FM.
“The most important Buccaneer in 2014 is Michael Johnson, in my mind,” Kaufman said. “I think there has to be concern, guys. Michael Johnson hasn’t made any plays. Yeah, I guess he scooped up a fumble. But guys, you have to make people pay for double- and triple-teaming Gerald McCoy. I mean, Johnson is going to get a lot of 1-on-1s this year. I think he is going to be a key guy.”
For those who have never read Joe type the following: Two years ago Johnson had 11.5 sacks. Last year, that dropped to a paltry 3.5. Johnson’s backers said that was because he was asked to do different things than rush the quarterback due to the injury to Geno Atkins. OK, fine.
There are people who live in the Tampa Bay area who want to run defensive end Adrian Clayborn out of town for his lack of sacks. He, too, was asked to do more than rush the quarterback last year (well, hello Darren Sproles) and Clayborn damned near doubled Johnson’s sack total.
Through training camp and the preseason, it seems Johnson has two moves: try to run around to the outside of the offensive tackle (which creates a monster hole inside of the tackle for a running back to punch through) or bull rush. It’s either one or the other.
Now to Johnson’s credit, if he has other tricks up his sleeve that he didn’t want to bust out and put on film for opposing teams to work on, that’s cool, that’s great. But Joe better see some of those come Sunday. If nothing else, for Johnson to keep the fans off his back and to free up GMC once or twice a game.