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Tyler Johnson was considered by many a steal in the fifth round where the Bucs took him in 2020. Through two seasons the young wideout has made some key plays in critical situations for Tampa Bay. Making a critical first down catch against the Saints in last season’s playoff game, while also prompting a holding call in the NFC Championship game. His clutch plays have earned him the trust of the coaching staff and quarterback Tom Brady.

Johnson came into training camp in less than ideal shape, and was promptly called out by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. Even “overweight”  you could see Johnson was ready to take the next step forward, catching nearly everything thrown at him. A full year into the system, you can see the speed in which Johnson plays with and the understanding of his assignments. Johnson’s progression is one that Arians has been pleased with.

“He’s finally in great shape and he understands what he’s doing,”Arians said. “He’s playing really fast. He ran by the guy in New England and we just missed him, getting back outside a little bit. He’s just still learning some little things, but I really like where he’s at right now.”

Bucs WR Tyler Johnson

Bucs WR Tyler Johnson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

While Johnson’s snap count has fluctuated this season, in games he receives a larger share of the snaps he’s been productive. In the two games he’s seen over 30 plays, he has a total of 105 yards on six receptions. From a low of three plays in the opener to a high of 38 against the Dolphins, his 83 total snaps have come at two positions. He’s logged 38.6 percent of his plays in the slot while 61.4 percent have come outside. His versatility and football IQ at his age hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of the veterans in the wide receiver room.

“He came in as a really smart football player,” Mike Evans said. “A strong guy that can help us in the run game and the pass game. I love being around him, he’s the ultimate pro at such a young age. He knows all of our positions. He even helps me out, out there as well sometimes. He’s a really smart player and a great teammate.”

Johnson has seven receptions on the season, four of those catches have resulted in first downs. It shows the trust Brady has in Johnson to come up with drive sustaining receptions. The quarterback and receiver continue to build their relationship on the field but so far they’re off to a great start. When Brady targets Johnson his NFL passer rating is 82.2, per PFF data.

 “Tyler has done a good job,” Brady said. “Everyone has a lot of confidence in Tyler. He does a good job out here whenever he gets his chance and he’s made a bunch of plays in games. It’s certainly not too big for him and I think he’s got a good attitude, a good work ethic. We’ve just got to keep all trying to get better together.”

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has also been encouraged by what he’s seen out of the second-year wideout. Improving everyday in practice and gaining the trust to deliver when it really counts.

“I see the improvements really every day,” Leftwich said. “I think the things we really needed to work on throughout the offseason, throughout the beginning of the season, I think he’s done an excellent job at that. When he’s come in throughout the year, we’ve put him in certain situations, and he’s answered the call. That’s all I really know him to be, even when he was a rookie. A lot of big third down catches for us last year, a lot of big plays for us last year when he was in certain tough situations. He doesn’t shy away from the moment. He’s the guy that’s just been always waiting for his opportunity.”

With Antonio Brown currently dealing with an ankle injury and out for Sunday’s game, Johnson will get the chance to make the most of his opportunity. Last season against the Chicago Bears, Johnson had one of the most productive games of his career. He posted four catches for 61 yards, including two for first downs. He’ll get another chance against the Bears when the Bucs host them at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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Eddie
Eddie(@oct62020)
1 month ago

I was impressed by how soft a hand he shown last game. Did not fight the ball any more. But it is hard to expect a second year receiver to run the kind of route Tom expected.

pokerpat12
pokerpat12(@pokerpat12)
1 month ago

Would LOVE to see Johnson round into shape. Then when we get Scotty Miller back we’ll be virtually impossible to cover!

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
1 month ago

He’s ready to break out if thrown the ball! He’s a very talented kid. Watch his highlights film. I can’t wait to see Tyler get some reps! We r sooooo talented and deep at WR!

Dman
Dman(@dman)
1 month ago

Looking at Godwin’s replacement next season.

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1(@aredsoxfan1)
Reply to  Dman
1 month ago

You may be right about that. I don’t see us being able to keep everyone all over again next year. Some tough decisions will need to be made. And as much as I like Godwin, WR is a spot where the team has amazing depth. And I think Johnson has shown he can handle more and more.

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