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August 30, 2011 @ 7:00 am
Current rating: 3.50 Stars/2 Votes

Surprise! Johnson Leads Bucs, NFL In Sacks

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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After generating just 26 sacks last year, which ranked last in the NFC, the Buccaneers have put a huge emphasis on getting to the quarterback more often in 2011, from hiring a pass rush specialist coach in Keith Millard to drafting two defensive ends with the team's first two picks in Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers to re-signing free agent defensive ends in Michael Bennett and Tim Crowder. In three preseason games, Tampa Bay has produced 13 sacks, which ranks fourth in the NFL behind Buffalo, Houston and Philadelphia, each of which have 14.

While more recognizable players such as linebacker Dekoda Watson (2.5 sacks) and defensive ends Bennett (1.5 sacks), Crowder (two sacks) and Kyle Moore (two sacks) have all gotten to the quarterback multiple times, it is unheralded George Johnson that leads the team with three quarterback captures. Johnson, who was a practice squad player a year ago, came to the Bucs as an undrafted free agent from Rutgers. He has been the model of consistency for the Bucs defense this year, recording a sack in each of the team's three preseason contests while running with the third team at right defensive end opposite Moore.

Pewter Report wrote about Johnson's exploits prior to Tampa Bay's 17-13 victory over Miami on Saturday night in Friday's Pewter Pulse column, and Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris isn't surprised at Johnson's success.

“George is making it difficult, and he should. He’s been in the system,” Morris said. “He’s been here the last two years. He’s been up and he’s been down [from the roster to the practice squad]. I can’t say enough about his effort, his play and his consistency every week. He’s leading our team in sacks with three. That’s tied for the league lead I believe.”

Morris is correct. Johnson's three sacks is tied with Chicago DT Amobi Okoye, Denver LB Von Miller and San Diego DT Vaughn Martin for the league lead. With the Bucs typically keeping eight defensive linemen, but wanting to increase its pass rush in 2011, Johnson could solidify a roster spot and force Tampa Bay to keep nine defensive linemen with a strong showing in Washington on Thursday night. Because Morris plans on not playing his defensive starters in the game, Johnson figures to receive a lot of playing time in the second half of the team's preseason finale and will have plenty of opportunity to state his case for being on the 53-man roster in Tampa Bay – or elsewhere.
Last modified on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:29

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  • avatar

    Surprise! Johnson is cut. Well PS is still good. I guess they had too many other players to fully evaluate to keep him on the roster.
  • avatar

    they should start him to see what hes got.
  • avatar

    Sneedy16, Just my opinion - Kyle Moore and Alex Magee.
  • avatar

    I just watched the Dolphins game for the third time....this time keeping an eye on George Johnson. I now understand why he is tied for the most sacks in preseason. First, he's going up against second and third string players, BUT he is so quick with his feet and powerful with his arms and particularly his hands. He just pounds the chests of those who try to keep him off the quarterback. They have got to keep him!
  • avatar

    Who would the Bucs let go if they keep GJ?
  • avatar

    If, and it is a BIG IF, all this flows from the preseason to the regular season ... look out. The Bucs just became a great pass rushing team. I know... means nothing right now... just dreaming a little. We will hear about SUH for the next week, I think Stafford and his frail body better look out!
  • avatar

    Johnson is a keeper, watch and see!!
  • avatar

    George will never get to our practice squad this year. With 3 sacks in a league that puts extreme value on players that can rush the passer some team will immediately claim him off waviers as soon as we cut him. That's what 3 sacks in the pre-season will do for you. However, it's possible that if we are not going to put him on the roster he might have played well enough to get a low round draft choice from some team looking for more pass rush or perhaps a trade for an offensive lineman that another team would like to keep but can't. So he still might help us in that case. JMO.
  • avatar

    I see them keeping: Bennett, Clayborne, Bowers, Crowder AND Johnson and-------McCoy, Price, Miller, Okam at DT. As I poured over the roster, it looks feasible to do this.... especially considering the injuries and concerns with Miller, Price, & Bowers
  • avatar

    True. At the same time, I hope they can keep him on the practice squad at least.
  • avatar

    George is an elite speed rusher. If you will remember the last time the Bucs got an elite speed rusher, they won the Super Bowl. He is a keeper and needed for our defense. I hope he gets a bunch of sacks against the Skins Thursday!
  • avatar

    While GJ is playing better than expected, it's always against non-starter O-linemen. Hope we see similar results against stiffer competition.
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