Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker
Johnson was able to get his hands in the passing lane and disrupted a couple passes throughout the course of Monday morning’s practice at the team’s Berea training facility.
“It’s going well for me,” Johnson said of his first professional training camp. “I’m trying to get better every day. I think I’m doing a really good job of that; I can always get better though. I just feel like I’m trying to focus more on little things because before, I was trying to focus on the big picture. It’s more of the little things that help you develop faster.”
Johnson started 50 of the 54 games in which he played at the University of Nevada and registered 299 career tackles. He collected 8.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Since the team selected Johnson in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, Browns coach Pat Shurmur has seen development in all facets of his young linebacker’s game.
“He’s getting better,” Shurmur said. “You see his run fits are better; he matches up better in coverage. He runs to the ball extremely well and I think, as he dives in on the matchups of the teams we’re playing and can pick up little pointers if it’s run, pass or where they’re going with the football, he’ll even be better.”
Johnson credited spending several practices at strong side linebacker as part of the reason for his ability to quickly learn the Browns’ 4-3 defensive scheme under coordinator Dick Jauron.
“If you can hone in on one position, wrap your head around that for a week or two, it’ll settle you in a little better,” Johnson said. “At the same time, I still need to be able to play Mike or Will because if somebody goes down, they’re going to have to shuffle us around.”
Johnson also thanked veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson for helping him learn how to be a professional and how to approach the game of football.
“He’s one of the best linebackers I’ve seen and played with,” Johnson said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play with a guy like that and I can just see how he approaches the game, see how he thinks about the game. He tells me what to watch for, what to look out for. He helps me out. I’m grateful for that.
“He’s a great guy. When we first got out here, he took care of all the rookies. He showed us around. Not all of the vets do that, so I give him mad props for that because he went out of his way and take time out of his day to help us out. I didn’t know anybody here, so he took us around, showed us the city and stuff, so I’m thankful for that.”
Johnson has applied those lessons from Jackson and competed well enough for Coach Shurmur to say Monday that he “has a chance” to start for the team in the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Johnson, however, is not yet concerned about Sept. 9. He is more focused on Tuesday morning’s practice in full pads.
“All I’m thinking about is coming out tomorrow and practicing better than I did today,” Johnson said. “That’s in the future; tomorrow’s not promised, so I’m just trying to keep it rolling and focus on the next day.”