Michael Johnson Excited For FreedomMarch 17th, 2014
The New Schiano Order loved to have its defensive linemen rumba, salsa, and line dance when the ball was snapped. Greg Schiano said he had no choice; he claimed to be without the horses to send only four d-linemen directly after quarterbacks regularly.
This is not how Lovie Smith does business.
Lovie turned on the game tape of the 2013 Bucs pass rush, and Joe suspects Lovie felt like Joe does when a fine woman won’t give him the time of day. So, to no one’s surprise, Lovie booted Adrian Clayborn and Akeem Spence from their previous pass rushing roles in favor of newcomer free agents Michael Johnson and Clinton McDonald.
Johnson’s sack production was a paltry 3.5 last year after recording 11 1/2 in 2012. The drop off is no mystery to Johnson. He believes he was a far better player in last year than in 2012, only the numbers didn’t come.
Speaking this afternoon on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon, Johnson said he can’t wait for Lovie to turn him loose. It seems he felt a bit shackled in Cincinnati.
“Definitely. I think that’s going to be a lot different, you know, in last year versus this year, with this front allowing you to be more aggressive. And just, you know – and go!” Johnson said.
“So I definitely think we’ll have a lot of opportunities to get after the quarterback. And you’ll see us doing that. But I’m going to do whatever they ask me, the same way I’ve done every year. I’m not going to complain about it. I’m just going to go in, keep my head down, and work as hard as I can. And good results follow.”
Johnson also said scheme and personnel (aka Gerald McCoy) were the major reasons he chose Tampa Bay. Johnson admitted he knew nobody who had played under Lovie Smith and had no player to call for a reference or insight on the Bucs’ new head coach.
But Johnson does know he will be ordered to pass rush with his speed and massive frame over and over and over again.
Damn, if Johnson can wreak havoc in NFC South backfields, he will be an instant hero in sack-starved Tampa.