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michael89156

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« : June 13, 2013, 12:00:15 AM »



Secret Superstar: Leonard Johnson

Peter Damilatis | June 12, 2013

ProFootballFocus





The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made noise recently with spending sprees that have netted them elite veterans like Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Dashon Goldson, and Darrelle Revis. However, those thrifty moves shouldn’t overshadow a promising crop of young talent, particularly from last year’s draft. Doug Martin and Lavonte David both challenged for their respective Rookie of the Year Awards in 2012, and seventh overall pick Mark Barron has yet to reach his vast potential.
 
And yet, while mining Tampa Bay’s roster for hidden gems, our focus shifted to another promising rookie from last season. Undrafted Leonard Johnson wasn’t expected to be one of the Buccaneers’ top cornerbacks in 2012, but after a mercurial campaign for both himself and the Bucs’ secondary as a whole, the first-year defensive back showed the potential worthy of being Tampa Bay’s Secret Superstar.
 
Unexpected Starter
 
Johnson was a four-year starter at Iowa State, and an active one at that. He tallied 200 tackles in his last three college seasons, and was known for being physical in both his coverage and run support. In the biggest test of his college career, he held Justin Blackmon to a relatively-low 99 yards and grabbed an interception as the Cyclones upset No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State. Johnson’s strong performance vs Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl must have drawn notice from the opposite sideline, because when a poor Scouting Combine left him undrafted, Greg Schiano didn’t hesitate to sign him. Once a star quarterback at Largo High School, Johnson was returning to his home state as a Buccaneer.
 
As much as Johnson impressed his coaches in the preseason, it wasn’t in the Bucs’ plans to have him play the second-most snaps of any Tampa Bay cornerback in his rookie season. With Aqib Talib returning healthy from a hamstring injury and Eric Wright joining the team with his new $38 million contract, Tampa Bay was supposed to boast a strong starting cornerback duo. But then the temperamental Talib was traded to the New England Patriots, and Wright was simultaneously hit with an Achilles injury and a performance-enhancing drug suspension. After playing just 32 defensive snaps in his first six games, Johnson was suddenly a regular starting cornerback for the Buccaneers.
 
Up and Down Season
 
Johnson’s first career start, a Week 8 Thursday night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, was mixed with the bright lights and low lights that defined his rookie campaign. Right before halftime, he seemed beaten on a Percy Harvin deep route, but ripped the ball out of the receiver’s hands. If not for a foot out of bounds, it would have been an amazing interception. A Johnson missed tackle in the fourth quarter gave Harvin a measure of revenge, and Michael Jenkins then beat the rookie corner on consecutive slants that were so similar that they seemed to be an instant replay. But Johnson had the last laugh, intercepting a Christian Ponder floater on the Vikings’ final play from scrimmage.
 
Such highs and lows became a theme for Johnson over the remainder of the season. The following week versus the Oakland Raiders, Johnson faced 13 targets and allowed just four completions with a pass defensed and an interception. Against the San Diego Chargers, his missed tackle led to an 80-yard Danario Alexander touchdown. But he atoned for it with an 83-yard interception return for the game’s decisive touchdown. Then began a tough four-week stretch with four missed tackles and three touchdowns allowed in coverage, including the game-winning score by the Philadelphia Eagles with no time left.
 
That last play cost Johnson his starting job, but a poor performance by the Buccaneers’ secondary in a 41-0 blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints put the rookie back in a starting role the following week. Johnson finished his inaugural season strongly, as he allowed just 31 yards on 11 targets with two passes defensed in his final two games. In yet another epitome of his rookie season, Johnson forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, and lost a fumble, all in one play against the St. Louis Rams. Naturally, he batted away a deep pass two snaps later.
 
Demanding Defense
 
To put Johnson’s volatile season in perspective, we must look at the Buccaneers defense as a whole. The rookie finished 2012 with a 63.5% completion rate and 93.9 quarterback rating allowed on passes into his coverage. Although poor marks when compared to the rest of the league, those numbers actually hold up favorably in a Tampa Bay cornerback group that surrendered the most completions and yards of any in the NFL. Was Johnson’s season just the prettiest of a particularly ugly bunch? After seeing the solid coverage grades given to the majority of the Buccaneers corners, it doesn’t seem that simple.
 
To emphasize run support and physical play, Buccaneers coaches often demanded that their cornerbacks play in press coverage. Johnson himself lined up in press on 48.5% of his snaps, the fourth-highest rate of anyone with 300 coverage snaps, and way above the league average of 27.0%. Tampa Bay also used 144 defensive back blitzes last season, the fifth-most of any team.
 
This strategy helped reached Schiano’s goals, as Buccaneers cornerbacks combined for the sixth-most interceptions in the league and the fourth-most passes defensed, while Tampa Bay manned the league’s No. 1 run defense. But it also left the Tampa Bay cornerbacks on a bit of an island, and helps explain why Johnson surrendered nearly half of his yardage on short inside routes. When you see that Talib surrendered 168 yards to Hakeem Nicks in Week 2 and still earned a positive coverage grade from us, you can see the large responsibility given to Tampa Bay’s outside defensive backs.
 
Sophomore Superstar?
 
Despite the name of this series, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that Johnson was a true superstar last season. Aside from the large responsibilities he had, he also made mistakes that will cost him in the future if he doesn’t correct them. With 10 missed tackles on defense and special teams, he may need to bulk up his 5-foot-10, 200 pound-frame to avoid slipping off ballcarriers. But as Rahim Moore showed us this season, poor tackling is certainly correctable for young players.
 
To fully reach his potential this season, Johnson will have to earn back his starting spot first. Newcomer Revis will likely be on one side, but the other starting spot is there for the taking. Wright was nearly released if not for a drastic pay cut, and Johnson’s experience last season gives him a slight edge on fellow youngsters Johnthan Banks and Anthony Gaitor. A year after going undrafted, Johnson’s has shown success as a starter and could have a clear path back to that position. On a roster already brimming with young talent, don’t be surprised if he soon earns the notoriety of his 2012 classmates.





DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson, right, learned about being a barber from his dad, Charles Harris, who is the Bucs’ team barber. Harris makes weekly visits to One Buc Place, keeping players such as receiver Tiquan Underwood looking good.



Pro Football Focus: Leonard Johnson is a Secret Superstar -- but he may not get playing time

By Sander Philipse

on Jun 12 2013




USA TODAY Sports



Leonard Johnson had a decent rookie season -- but can he find a way to get on the field again?

Pro Football Focus has been going over the players they think can become superstars but don't get nearly enough attention. Their choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: cornerback Leonard Johnson, who was asked to step in and play a significant role as an undrafted rookie last season due to suspensions, injuries and a trade.

Johnson showed some promise in his first year but, like most of the team, was very inconsistent. He had good moments with three interceptions, but he had many, many bad moments as well - most notably giving up the game-losing touchdown to the Philadelphia Eagles as time expired. Still, Pro Football Focus thinks he could take a big step this year.


Despite the name of this series, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that Johnson was a true superstar last season. Aside from the large responsibilities he had, he also made mistakes that will cost him in the future if he doesn't correct them. With 10 missed tackles on defense and special teams, he may need to bulk up his 5-foot-10, 200 pound-frame to avoid slipping off ballcarriers. But as Rahim Moore showed us this season, poor tackling is certainly correctable for young players.
 
To fully reach his potential this season, Johnson will have to earn back his starting spot first. Newcomer Revis will likely be on one side, but the other starting spot is there for the taking. Wright was nearly released if not for a drastic pay cut, and Johnson's experience last season gives him a slight edge on fellow youngsters Johnthan Banks and Anthony Gaitor. A year after going undrafted, Johnson's has shown success as a starter and could have a clear path back to that position. On a roster already brimming with young talent, don't be surprised if he soon earns the notoriety of his 2012 classmates.
 



Unfortunately for Johnson, finding those snaps may be a little difficult. Johnson was up-and-down last season, but Eric Wright was still miles ahead of him. I'd be shocked if Johnson managed to beat him out for a starting job. He may have his eyes on the nickel job, but Johnthan Banks likely has the upper hand there.
 
Although reports on offseason workouts are inconclusive on the matter, teams are generally not in the habit of sitting their top draft pick on the bench for an undrafted free agents with one year of NFL experience. Besides that, Banks likely is the superior player anyway.

So can Johnson win the dime cornerback job then? He might, but the Bucs have shown a tendency in offseason workouts to line up in dime situations with three safeties and three cornerbacks, with Ahmad Black and Keith Tandy fighting for that safety spot. Cody Grimm might be in the mix, too. Once again, that would leave Leonard Johnson with little playing time.

Leonard Johnson may be a secret superstar and perhaps he could develop this year, but he'll first have to find a way to get on the field. That may be harder than it seems.




http://www.bucsnation.com/2013/6/12/4422876/pro-football-focus-leonard-johnson-is-a-secret-superstar-but-he-may



youngone

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« #1 : June 13, 2013, 12:27:29 AM »

Nonsense... Myron Lewis is without a doubt our secret superstar.

VinBucFan

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« #2 : June 13, 2013, 12:29:54 AM »

Hope he keeps it going

Bucs N Beers

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« #3 : June 13, 2013, 07:47:58 AM »

Sander Philipse is a Dbag


Dolorous Jason

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« #4 : June 13, 2013, 07:52:47 AM »

Sander Philipse is a Dbag

lol

What is your point? I was wrong? Ok. You win. I was wrong.

           

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« #5 : June 13, 2013, 08:29:25 AM »

How is Myron Lewis still on this team? Seriously, I always gave the guy the benefit of the doubt because I thought I saw some potential in him. But WTF? How does he constantly miss getting cut yet NEVER EVER contributes anything during practice or games? Is he a special teams superstar that we just don't know about?

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youngone

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« #6 : June 13, 2013, 08:33:07 AM »

How is Myron Lewis still on this team? Seriously, I always gave the guy the benefit of the doubt because I thought I saw some potential in him. But WTF? How does he constantly miss getting cut yet NEVER EVER contributes anything during practice or games? Is he a special teams superstar that we just don't know about?
The Lewis works in mysterious ways my friend. Seek not thine own understanding.

Dolorous Jason

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« #7 : June 13, 2013, 08:38:57 AM »

Lewis is here to tudor Revis.  We need a guy like Lewis to take Revis under his wing.

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« #8 : June 13, 2013, 09:20:40 AM »

LJ really didn't play that poorly last season.  I won't be surprised to see him be the #3 corner this year.

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« #9 : June 13, 2013, 11:07:46 AM »

I like LJ. Not as a #1 corner but I definitely expect him to contribute this season. Great opportunity to learn from Revis.

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« #10 : June 13, 2013, 11:22:27 AM »

Johnson will beat out Wright for that nickel spot. If not for week one, by mid season.

I'm a big LJ fan and I hope he does end up being a secret superstar....even though that title is really, really gay.
( Politically Correct Warning! The word gay was used in this sentence as a synonym for corny. This is in no way a reference to anyone's sexual preference or meant as a disrespect to any homosexual person.)

« : June 13, 2013, 11:27:32 AM JDouble »

Draft Aaron Donald



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« #11 : June 13, 2013, 04:02:02 PM »

     I see the battle for the 2/3/4 CB position between Banks, Johnson, and Wright to be the best in TC... The competition will hopefully make them ALL better!!

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« #12 : June 13, 2013, 06:18:15 PM »

     I see the battle for the 2/3/4 CB position between Banks, Johnson, and Wright to be the best in TC... The competition will hopefully make them ALL better!!




The 3rd WR spot will be an interesting battle also. 

I am pulling for Leonard, hope he succeeds. He really needs to play though, so the coaches can determine if he is improving or he has reached his ceiling already. He definitely needs playing time though. I mentioned during free agency, when fans were calling for the team to sign a lessor CB free agent, because the Revis deal was taking too long. That would of cost Leonard playing time, and maybe even a roster spot.

Its the same thing now, they should of let Wright walk, because he is still here, and that holds up the development of Banks and Leonard.  Wright will probably be gone after the 2013 season.  But it would be even better if he was a camp causality, freeing up much needed playing time for Banks and Leonard.


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« #13 : June 13, 2013, 08:36:25 PM »



The 3rd WR spot will be an interesting battle also. 




I keep hearing that....but really? Seems like a battle to decide the tallest midget to me. Unless one of the young unknowns rise up and surprise, I don't find that competition exciting or interesting at all. Ogletree and Underwood just don't do anything for me.

Draft Aaron Donald



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« #14 : June 13, 2013, 08:49:15 PM »



The 3rd WR spot will be an interesting battle also. 




I keep hearing that....but really? Seems like a battle to decide the tallest midget to me. Unless one of the young unknowns rise up and surprise, I don't find that competition exciting or interesting at all. Ogletree and Underwood just don't do anything for me.


   
They will only keep 5 or 6 WR's.  So who squeaks in, after Mike and Vincent will be interesting. Could be Ogletree, or Underwood.  Page is an interesting candidate. Dude set big time records in college. He could end up being the return guy here, if the Demps idea doesn't pan out.


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PewterReportMC....
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