“It’s Shocking Me, As Well.”

August 11th, 2015
Leslie Frazier and company are surprising

Leslie Frazier and company are surprising

If you’re looking for fourth-year cornerback Leonard Johnson at Bucs practice, he’s likely he’s within three feet of Tampa Bay’s dedicated nickel cornerback coach Larry Marmie.

They’re often alone, which is a bit of a surprise to Joe and a member of the Buccaneers’ defensive backs corps.

This offseason, the Bucs inked Sterling Moore in free agency. He’s a better athlete than Johnson and a guy who played a lot of nickel for the Cowboys last year. It appeared Moore would have a leg up for the job, but he’s spending most of his time as an outside corner and Johnson appears a lock.

“It’s shocking me as well,” Moore told Joe on Sunday. “I definitely thought I would get a chance to get in there [at nickel]. But I’m just coming out here doing what they’re telling me to do. I’ve proven that I can play outside, and I can play outside well. Not only in last year’s scheme, but I think I’ve done it very well in camp so far this year. I’m just going out there trying to be the best corner on the field every day.”

Moore explained that essentially he is channeling his nickel skills when he’s been called up on to cover receivers in the slot. First, that’s his job, but second, he wants coaches to see he has the skill set mastered.

“Play calls that require the outside corner to play inside, it’s the same technique demanded of a nickel back. So that’s the time I have to get those nickel reps,” Moore said. “Even when I’m outside, when I have to move inside to play those slots, I have to use the same technique. So those are the times I have to use those techniques, show what I can do, since I’m not playing as much nickel as I want.”

Joe found it very interesting when Leslie Frazier said recently that the Bucs weren’t totally pleased with their depth at cornerback.

That got Joe thinking back to 2012, when the Bucs had one of the worst cornerback crews in NFL history, and the yards-allowed-passing stats to prove it. Back then, Greg Schiano referenced the fearsome foursome as “E.J., Leonard, Danny and LeQuan.” For those keeping score, that’s Biggers, Johnson (rookie year), Gorrer and Lewis.

How far we’ve come — we hope.

26 Responses to ““It’s Shocking Me, As Well.””

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Amazing how many chances Johnson is getting. He’s a complete bust, but is given opportunity after opportunity.

    That they have to settle on him shows us just how bad the SBs beyond Banks and Verner are this year.

  2. greg06 Says:

    Moore will be our starting nickel by week 3.

  3. rjhurst813 Says:

    I never had a problem with Johnson, I just couldn’t understand how he was always left on a island with another teams’ best receivers. Especially under blitz happy Schiano. Revis is in a zone and Johnson is in a 1 to 1 makes no since. Also, people love to reference the Schiano defense as effective because we were first against the run, but we were last against the pass, and teams stop trying to run the ball against our team.

  4. Fsuking Says:

    Leonard Jonhson is the furthest thing from a bust. He was an undrafted free agent. He lacks talent, athleticism, awareness and every other trait it takes to be a cornerback in the NFL. I’m so mad that he might start! I saw our CB depth on paper before training camp and finally thought this was the year we cut Johnson and he was out of the NFL for good. Nope. The NFL’s worst player is back starting for the Buccaneers. Go figure.

  5. Fsuking Says:

    Joe you should buy coaches PFF and show them how Leonard is at the bottom 3 at his position every single year. In fact, bottom 5 of any secondary player in the league.

  6. OneLove Says:

    Wow, if Leonard Johnson is still starting then we have serious issues.. This guy gets beat playing man, zone, and txmaxcon’s Mom.

    “It’s as simple as that” – Coach Smith

  7. Greg Says:

    A really good kid but way to slow to follow receivers on drag routs and too small to cover tight ends. Its like watching Mason Foster get burnt on every pass play. Time for an upgrade. Hopefully help will come once other teams start cutting players hello number one waiver priority!

  8. Louis Friend Says:

    I think it’s a detriment that NB is considered a completely separate position in the Bucs scheme. Giving only 2 guys of poor quality all the reps is the surest way to guarantee QB’s have great completion % on 3rd down. The lack of pass rush just makes it that much worse.

    You want all of your best corners on the field at once. Why continue keeping such a critical position in a silo?

  9. Joe Says:

    Geez Fsuking. Did Johnson steal your girlfriend? You act like he’s Myron Lewis.

  10. Buccfan37 Says:

    If Johnson is, was that bad why is he still on the team? I can’t think of a Buc player in the past few years who has been so consistently dumped on as LJ and is still here.

  11. OneLove Says:



  12. LargoBuc Says:

    I like Leonard but its crazy to start him over Moore/Verner/Banks, or even Jenkins. He just dosent have the speed to cover NFL receivers, even in zone.

  13. DallasBuc Says:

    If an undrafted guy is still in the NFL going into his fourth season across different regimes then he cannot be considered a bust. He may not be good enough to dominate or even start but seems to be quality experienced depth that is improving and comes at the right price. There are bigger problems with this team than Leonard Johnson.

  14. Supersam Says:

    How many lives does Leonard Johnson have? The dude is a nice guy, but a miserable player. It’s mind boggling. Drew Bree’s probabably laughs every year we trot this guy out on the field.

  15. hooray4trey Says:

    Joe- How has Leonard Johnson looked in camp so far?

  16. Joe Says:

    How has Leonard Johnson looked in camp so far?

    About 5-10.

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    I’m not sure what the thinking is – but you would be hard pressed to convince me that LJ is a better Nickle corner than Sterling Moore. I thought for sure Moore would be the starting Nickle corner. The only thing that makes sense to me if coaches think Moore is a better outside corner than Nickle – is to bring him in on passing downs and slide Verner over to cover the slot receiver.

    Love LJs heart, work ethic, etc – and that he’s a local guy living his dream playing in the NFL for the hometown team after going undrafted. But as already pointed out – he doesn’t have the athleticism or speed needed to be a starting CB at this level.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    Honestly I thought verner should slide over to the nickel the way Barber used to, and then Moore would come play the outside. I figured by the end of preseason, LJ would be the backup nickel.

  19. LakelandBuc Says:

    It wasn’t all Leonard Johnson fault, you suppose to get safety help over the top. But Leonard wasn’t getting any help, poor safety play makes Cornerbacks look bad. I mean Leonard Johnson could have played better, but so could the safeties.Rondo Barber could gamble and get picks, because he trusted his safeties to have his back in coverage. Since Leonard have been a Buc, we have had poor safety play.

  20. Fsuking Says:

    Johnson stole my unbridled optimism for the 2015 season. I now dread the thought of easy completions on 3rd and long. Seriously I could call plays against Leonard in the cover 2. 1st play quick slant to Johnson’s zone. 2nd play drag to Johnson’s zone. 3rd play play action pass over top of Johnson (who has bit hard by this time trying desperately to do something, anything) for the TD. He’s a good guy. I’m sure Joe is too. Joe can’t play nickel. Neither can Leonard Johnson.

  21. Fsuking Says:

    Me and my brother hated Leonard Johnson as a football player before it was cool to hate on his ability (or lack thereof). I am essentially the hipster of the anti-Leonard movement.

  22. Mike10 Says:

    Was at that first Sunday practice, and wanted to keep my eye on Johnson. He was getting beat a lot! Talked to him afterwards, nicest guy in the world, but does not belong on an NFL team, let alone starting.

  23. Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Leonard “charred” Johnson is a great story but not a great cornerback. I used to think he would develop into a decent player but he just lacks the speed and consistently get burnt.

    It seems Leonard “charred” Johnson is our new version of the cat Myron “9 lives” Lewis.

  24. Tom S. Says:

    Who was it that traded away Aquib Talib and assembled that fearsome foursome of “EJ, Leonard, Danny and Lequan” again? Oh, that’s right, it was “Rockstar” Mark Dominik.

    You can’t say Dominik didn’t accomplish anything in his five years here. Being the proud GM who fielded the 2nd worst pass defense in league history is an impressive feat.

  25. unbelievable Says:

    @Tom S,

    I’m not a Dominik fan here either, but Talib was purged when Schiano got here and got rid of all those who weren’t ‘Buccaneer Men’.

  26. bigsombrero Says:

    Leonard Johnson was bad guys cut it out. He looked significantly better on the outside as a rookie but at nickel, he’s awful.

    Pay close attention when he’s on the field and you will notice qb’s picking on him throughout. He had the 6th highest completion % allowed and 6th highest qb rating allowed in the league among starting cb’s. He was awful.

    When he’s on the field, our defense will struggle. He’s an easy completion waiting to happen at nickel.