The QB Blast: Assessing Josh Johnson

October 28th, 2009
carlsonBy JEFF CARLSON analyst
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

In July I wrote a note to Raheem Morris with my analysis of his QBs.

Don’t know if he ever read it or not. He never called.

Of Josh Johnson, I wrote: 

1. Has the best whip of any of your QBs, but plays with his thowing elbow in front of his ball too much. Watch his ball in “pat and go” warm-ups. His ball will float with the tip up in the air most of the time, giving DB’s more time to react. It will also be less
accurate with any kind of wind. 

2. Needs to loosen up his upper body while he drops back. He is very robotic on the drop-back and should bring his elbows back down closer to his sides and bring the ball back down to the middle of his chest (keep the tip of the ball down below the back of the ball through the whole delivery–this will cure his floaters).

After Johnson’s four-start stint as the starting QB, I wouldn’t change much of my early assessment, but Johnson did get a bit more fluid in general. He did throw quite a few wobbly balls that floated with the front tip in the air and he would do better to learn to keep the tip of the ball down before release to get more accurate.

I believe Johnson he has very good potential in this league.

Some will write him off because of his draft status and the head coach trying to label him a career backup. Of course, he could have made better throws and better decisions in some cases, but overall I critique the play-calling of Greg Olson for not taking advantage of any of Johnson’s physical attributes.

How bout a rollout?

Pat White was a second round pick to the Dolphins and is getting spot play in the “Wildcat.” Johnson is a better passer and probably a better runner, as well. Could the Bucs not have had a receiver or back go in fast motion (like Ricky Williams for Miami) and create some deception and roll Johnson out the opposite way and help create space for their recievers?

Could they not have intentionally rolled him out on just ONE play in his four games of getting chased from the pocket?

Johnson’s interception returned for a TD on the fifth play last Sunday against the Patriots was his fault, but I heard it explained on radio this week as a “hot” read from a blitz. It wasn’t.

It went back to my last QB Blast and the Bucs lack of throwing the ball down the field.

The Patriots did their film homework. They left the middle receiver of a “trips” set “uncovered” by a safety 10 yards off the ball. This would have been a completion for the Bucs if Johnson had been under center — Tom Brady picks these plays up all of the
time — but Johnson was in shotgun, took his eyes off that area to catch the ball, took an extra step and the safety “sat” and then timed it perfectly.

This is one of the reasons Jon Gruden was so late in using the shotgun formation.  It gives up a lot of quick passes to uncovered receivers.  The Patriots and Colts are still under center quite a bit to take advantage in this situation.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, both QB and coach are inexperienced in those situations.

I don’t know if Josh Johnson is smart or if he knows the offense very well as has been published, but he has physical tools that few have had in this league — ever.

With some technique training to his delivery and more film study, he could be a very good starting QB in this league one day.

I hope Josh Freeman took copious notes, because there were plenty of inexperienced mistakes that Freeman does not need to make.

But it all looks quite different from the sideline compared to behind the line — trust me, I know.

12 Responses to “The QB Blast: Assessing Josh Johnson”

  1. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    Nice work- And why didn’t they use a screen pass when they were getting so much pressure up the middle?

  2. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    It appears its Freeman’s team now….
    Rookie Josh Freeman opened practice Wednesday with the first-team offense and is expected to be the Bucs’ new starting QB after the Week 8 bye.

    Coach Raheem Morris probably won’t confirm Freeman’s ascension until next Wednesday at the earliest, but the writing’s been on the wall. Josh Johnson managed just 50.4% completions and a putrid 5.5 YPA while throwing eight interceptions in his five appearances. Freeman has a big arm, but is very raw and it’s unclear how aggressive offensive coordinator Greg Olson will let him be. We’d be stunned if he closes out the year as a top-25 fantasy QB.
    Source: Rick Stroud on Twitter

  3. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    Sorry Joe

  4. Joe Says:

    What’s to apologize for Jerrjenn2? Joe appreciates that information, depressing as it is.

  5. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    I thought you preferred to have JJ finish this season, so as not to scar Freeman for life.

  6. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    Another depressing topic is how poorly we are doing in Bmans pool!

  7. Joe Says:

    I thought you preferred to have JJ finish this season, so as not to scar Freeman for life.

    Oh, yeah. Joe’s trying to ignore that. 🙁

  8. Ackall Says:

    First time commenter. Jeff, really enjoyed this. Read it twice in fact. You have any sense why a guy like Olson didn’t call rollouts? Is it just ego, that he wants to do it his way? Johnson didn’t even run against New England. You remember Michael Vick ever doing that? It’s like they didn’t play to JJs strengths. I feel bad for the kid. Glad you think he can make it.

    Joe, somebody should send this article to Josh Johnson.

  9. Greg Says:

    Joe, face it, it’s going to be five years or more to get over Freeman, so might as well get started eating into those years now instead of waiting until next year! Too bad too, lots of good QBs coming out next year, but Raheem’s got his butt buddy…

  10. Joe Says:

    Joe, face it, it’s going to be five years or more to get over Freeman


    Joe predicted before the draft if Freeman doesn’t work out, it will set the franchise back six years.

    Pure and simple, this is a panic move. Nothing like rushing a raw quarterback who the front office had hoped to sit the season and be brought along slowly.

  11. Greg Says:

    Joe, I’m with you hoping that Freeman will work out, but didn’t you see his eyes on Sunday–he looked like he was about to crap his pants!! I will say this organization is NOT going to get turned around with the guys in charge now, nor will it with the Glazers as long as they are being tight wads!

  12. Bucs76 Says:

    Wish we got a longer look at Johnson. I agree with you Joe. I think everybody forgets we’d get some benefit out of giving Johnson the rest of the season.

    Nice read, mr. Carlson. My dad was an amateur QB coach, but he helped his share of youth players. MHRIP