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sammy8887

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: October 07, 2009, 11:47:18 AM

Expectations are always going to be low for a quarterback making his first start. But the winless Bucs don't have time to grade Josh Johnson on a curve.

Anyone associated with the franchise will tell you the young quarterback has to make plays, and he must make them now if the Bucs are going to be remotely competitive.

After his first game, on Sunday at Washington, there was one element that was glaringly missing from his game: Johnson rarely looked down the field despite having receivers open on several occasions.

He finished the game with a per-attempt average of 4.8 yards. That's a dreadful statistic in a league where NFL leader Peyton Manning averages 9.8. It's lower than every regular starting quarterback this season, including the Raiders' JaMarcus Russell (4.7 yards). Even the much-maligned Byron Leftwich has averaged 5.6 yards per attempt, even if he does have weaknesses of his own.

The point isn't to rip Johnson.

The numbers merely point to an apparent weakness in his game, which seems to be his tendency to look for the underneath and short routes, often a checkdown pass to a back or tight end. Some of those decisions came in third-and-long situations, which means you have almost no chance at a conversion.

One thing Johnson is renowned for is taking care of the football, evidenced by his efficient record at the University of San Diego. But there's got to be a balance between making smart decisions and making more of an effort to make something happen. There's no question Johnson has to arm strength and accuracy to throw down the field. This is more a matter of making quicker reads and being willing to pull the trigger.

But this doesn't just fall on Johnson. His coaches are going to have to help him to the extent they can. And his receivers have to consistently get separation from defensive backs.

Regardless, until the Bucs manage to find a way to get defenses to back off, their offense will continue to struggle and that first win becomes more elusive.



http://blogs.tampabay.com/bucs/2009/10/looking-downfield-should-be-priority-for-bucs-qb-johnson.html



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#1 : October 07, 2009, 11:49:32 AM

"It's lower than every regular starting quarterback this season, including the Raiders' JaMarcus Russell (4.7 yards)."   JJ had a 4.8 per the article...   Huh?
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