Johnson: “I’m feeling alright, not as bad as last week”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on November 7, 2012 – 6:02 pm

“I’m feeling alright, not as bad as last week – not quite as bad. Still some things I have to work on to get better in treatment but it’s definitely not as bad as last week.

“The only experience I’ve had physically that was similar to last week’s game is my rookie year when I had some pretty good back pain. That was tough. You lose some of your focus because you’re thinking about the pain – whenever you make a move it’s hurting.

“The fact that I had a big game is based off the coverage – it always is. We got very favorable coverage, some Cover 1, Cover 3, some Cover 2, but we were able to exploit it more when they were playing single high. At the same time, the running game was working like crazy. They were running the heck out of the ball, Mikel and Joique. Those things contributed to it.

“Going into half time I’m sitting there like, ‘dang I can get 200 yards this game’, but at the same time I’m thinking that our running game is really killing them right now, so I figured we would run the ball to kill the clock. They did a great job of protecting the ball and gaining yards – big chunks, too.

“We got our run game going and that’s a big help. I think it’s an attitude – an edge – that’s really what’s been getting the run game going. The kind of whoop-ass attitude they’ve been coming with.

“They were kicking the opponents’ behinds last few weeks. So if they keep that same attitude, we will hopefully have a lot of the same this week.

“The fact that we won at Minnesota last year definitely gives you a little added confidence going into their place. The way we won and the way we hung in there plus the way we’re playing right now.

“They have a very good defensive front and stopping them will be key. We will have to get in and out of our routes fast, which creates openings for Matt to get us the ball before anything happens with that defensive line.”

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Johnson: “When I get one-on-one, yeah I want the ball”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on October 31, 2012 – 4:14 pm

“The key last week for the offense was converting third downs. We were 12 for 16. We did a pretty dang good job on third down. One thing I did notice in the huddle, guys were definitely focused and guys took it upon themselves to make a play when we got in that situation.

“Having Titus, Scheff and Pettigrew step up is huge – especially Pettigrew because he’s moving in between the hashes doing a lot of work in there. A lot of times when we catch zones or something like that, there’s a lot of openings in there. He was able to do that.

“TY was able to exploit them on the outside deep down the field. That was huge for us. That was one thing that was preached all week that we can’t stop running outside because they might let a route go and that’s exactly what they did. He got behind them for a touchdown. Scheffler, same thing. He’s dynamic as far as tight end/receiver.

“If they keep that up that means I get more balls – no doubt. We saw some single-high in the last few games, too. I’ll see the ball more and more if they want to keep doctoring them up, doctoring up coverages. Matt’s getting more comfortable with hitting TY and some of the other receivers.

“If the defense is coming with me, if I’m getting more than one person, I don’t have a problem with somebody else getting the ball because they’re one-on-one. You take advantage of your one-on-one matchups. When I get one-on-one, yeah I want the ball.

“Getting back to .500 would be huge for us. We’re not exactly where we wanted. Winning would put us in good position to finish out this season. We started off 2-4 at one point and now to be able to win two straight games, win 3 out of 4 of our second quarter games. That has us going in the right direction with a little more confidence.

“We can get a little win streak going and hopefully we take that to the second half of the season.”

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Johnson: “I see my leadership extending beyond the receivers room”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on October 24, 2012 – 5:11 pm

“My impression of the game is that there were plays left on the field from turnovers. I had a drop. We can’t turn the ball over down there. I didn’t realize until after the game that we were in the red zone three times and turned the ball over. That flip flops points on the board, but our defense came through and stopped them.

“The defense is playing their ass off so far this season. It’s our job to put points up and we haven’t really been able to get clicking yet. It’s going to come. You can’t panic right now because we still have a lot of football to play.

“I’m going to start working with our young receivers. We brought in Brian and then getting Broyles ready to play. I told both of them we’ll start watching film together. Just coach them up. I’m coached by Shawn everyday so I can take what I know from him. They’ll receive it a lot better coming from another player.

“It sucks not having Nate. We’re going to lose the spirit, energy and leadership he brings during the week, during practice and in the game. In our room, I have to try to do my best to fill in for Nate. He’s still going to be here, but at the same time – on the field – I have to do a better job of bringing more energy and leading those guys out there.

“I see my leadership extending beyond the receivers room. Guys come up to me every game talking about how ‘we need you,’ ‘we gotta get the offense going for us’ – things like that. No pressure, it’s just they look to me to help spark the offense.

“I’m not one to yell, but if it is something that needs to be corrected and that’s just blatant, then that’s a reason I’d get fiery. I won’t fire off on a teammate for messing up on something, but if it’s something continuously hurting the team, then I’ll say something. I do see that my teammates do listen, so I don’t have problems giving it to them.”

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Johnson: “Heading into Chicago for Monday Night – we expect to win”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on October 18, 2012 – 4:51 pm

“Charles Tillman is a big, physical corner; a strong guy. One thing he does do real well is: you’ve seen him over the years stripping the ball from the ball carrier. He’s actually got it down to a science. It’s actually kind of fun to watch when you see him doing it to other people.

“If I could describe his game in one word, it would be ‘detail.’ That’s one of the marks of being a good pro, man. You’ve got to be on the details, whether it be watching film to being in the right spot. To play in a system 10 years, you’ve got to be on the details.

“One thing I learned when I first got here is that a true pro is able to take the play whether it’s good or bad and be able to move onto the next one. A lot of young guys will get stuck in the moment, whether it be a good play or a bad play, and not be able to move right on to the next play – leave that one in the past. One thing about a true professional: they’re able to take a play, evaluate it for good or bad and move on to the next one and that’s the mark of a good pro.

“Let’s see – Tim Jennings has four interceptions, Tillman has two. From watching film it’s been situations where teams have to throw the ball, so their percentages go way up when teams are just throwing the ball on them because they get behind. Once you get behind Chicago it’s hard to catch up with their running game and the defense that they play.

“They’ve got a good front four. I’m not sure how many sacks they have in all, but they’ve got some guys that can do some damage up there. Rushing only four guys makes it harder for the quarterback to fit balls in windows and sometimes they try to fit them in windows that aren’t there.

“Heading into Chicago for Monday Night – we expect to win. We are a good road team. It’s been awhile since we’ve won there, so it would be a good feeling to win. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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Johnson: “New motto within the WR room: ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy'”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on October 10, 2012 – 4:33 pm

“Being on a three-game losing streak doesn’t change our mentality, though we have a new motto within the receivers room: “no more Mr. Nice Guy.” We need to turn up our intensity a little bit, especially in our position. We’re not playing bad by any means, but we can turn up our intensity and make more plays happen to help out in the run game a little more. That’s kind of what we’re focusing on right now.

“Finding a rhythm on offense has been tough because we’re seeing a lot of different coverages. We have to adapt to it. That’s our job. We can’t just let defenses keep doing what they’re doing or they’re going to keep on doing it. It’s a copycat league – we have to come up with something to answer against it. So if defenses want to play two-man or double me, somebody else has to step up and make plays.

“I’m looking forward to going up against the Eagles’ defense. This might be a chance where we get quite a bit of one-on-one in a game, which we haven’t seen since early last year, really. It’s going to be good for us at the receiver positions, tight ends, everybody that’s touching the ball on offense has the chance to have a good game.

“Philly is one of the most hostile environments that I’ve played in. I’ve played in most of them but, besides Oakland, they’re up there. One thing I know we need to do is go out there on point. We started off with a good practice today. We need to get on top and get their fans to start booing them a little bit because I know they’ll do it.”

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Johnson: “It’s too early in the season to say we’re out of it in the division”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on October 3, 2012 – 4:45 pm

“The mood around here has been fine. A lot of things we’ve gone over are a lot of little things. It’s the details, the reason why we haven’t won these last few games – especially the last two. If we would have been sticking to the details a little bit more, a lot of those mistakes that we had that ended up being so big wouldn’t have been there at all.

“It’s just a matter of the details. If and when we do correct those or get on top of those details, a lot of those mistakes will be gone and things will start to go the other way for us.

“Looking at us as an offense, it’s been tough. Last year things were way different because we saw single-high safety, cover one. This year they’re prevent, three safeties deep. We can’t just do what we did last year. At the same time we just have to nickel and dime them and that’s where the details come. Teams are going to make us drive 10 plays down the field to score so that’s where we need the details to get down there.

“It’s too early in the season to say we’re out of it in the division. We’re just a quarter of the way through. Being 1-3 is a big learning experience for us – we have to get our minds right to come back and try and flip that script.

“As a captain if things are going good you kind of fall to the back. But when things get tough you have to be there whether it be supporting or encouraging your teammates. Just keep everybody up. That’s my role right now. And I have to step up and start doing a little more, especially in these times.

“Getting five days off will be good for me physically. Get that body back to feeling good. That’s the most important thing. Get the body feeling good, we get another four-week span of games and then get another mini bye week for after Thanksgiving. We have a pretty good setup going into the end of the season even though our bye week came kind of early.”

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Johnson: “We still have a great chance to make it where we want to be at the end of the season and we’re going to keep plugging away”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 26, 2012 – 3:30 pm

“Losing last game was tough. When we got up in the score, we felt like we took the momentum back. We knew if we just kept on plugging away on offense, we’d get back in the lead and we did for a slight moment. But once we kicked it off, the kickoff return just sucked our momentum away and gave it right back to them and then they came back with a defensive touchdown. We were still fighting back but every time those big plays happened, it kind of took the wind out of our sails.

“We’re not down, though. Matt’s whole injury, that’s just something that happens. He’s going to be back. He’s going to be fine. The fact is we’re 1-2 and we have a big divisional game coming up which should put us back at .500 and at the same time 1-0 in our conference.

“We’re alright right now. We’re standing fine. We don’t want to be 1-2. We’d like to be 3-0 like we were last year, but it’s not the same as last year. We still have a great chance to make it where we want to be at the end of the season and we’re going to keep plugging away.

“Leshoure had a great performance first time out there. It was great to see him do what he did. I was happy for him. And I’m sure that he was looking forward to that opportunity. He knows what he can do and we’re starting to learn more and more about him every time he gets out there. It’s fun to watch him play.

“They still didn’t change up their coverage too much – they kept on doing what they were doing. So if teams want to keep on playing with the two-high and leaving seven in the box at the most, we can come up plugging away in the run.

“The Vikings beat a good team at home last week in the 49ers. Good thing we have them at home. They’re coming to our place. I’m really looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd – the energy – and we have to be able to put on a good show for them.

“They always had a great front four and they still have a good one. They lost some guys but they refilled the holes. They did a good job of that and they’re having a good season. Greenway’s been playing well for them the last few years, and the secondary, they have a couple returning pieces, but they also have some new pieces at the same time. So it’s an opportunity for us to go out there and make some plays on those guys.”

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Johnson: “Looking forward to getting Leshoure back this week”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 19, 2012 – 4:57 pm

“You have to give the 49ers credit. They played as deep as the deepest and as wide as the widest. Their efforts were solely not to give up the deep ball and not give up any explosive plays. We got some explosives, but we weren’t able to get on top of the coverage that we wanted to.

“They do a good job of tackling from their safeties. Their corners didn’t have too many plays, but as far as the front seven, those guys flow to the ball. They do a good job of flowing, getting moving, getting to the ball.

“All of us receivers were active last game – that’s solely up to the head coach. Often times we may have an injury here and there with another position where they have to activate somebody else for that position just in case. Therefore Ryan (Broyles) might not be able to play this week or something like that.

“Usually it will be Ryan that’s the guy that gets the cold shoulder just because of the position he’s in. He’s like the fourth receiver for us and we do a lot of stuff with our tight ends. It will be tough for him.

“Looking at the differences between him and Titus – Titus is really shifty. Ryan’s a really shifty guy too but Titus is excellent in his routes. Ryan has come along. He does a lot of good stuff in the slot while Titus is more of an outside receiver.

“I work with both of them. It all comes in practice because that’s where we spend most of our time out on the field and that’s the best time to teach out there is on the field. That’s when coaching – if any at all – comes from any of us: on the practice field.

“Looking forward to getting Leshoure back this week. I was going around talking to the linemen about it. They have a new toy back there in Leshoure – they’re happy to have that. We’re all happy to have him back. To have a healthy big back that is going to fall forward and get you some yards … some tough yardage at that.”

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Johnson on community initiative: “I don’t feel pressure to be involved, it’s more fun”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 18, 2012 – 5:11 pm

“Being more involved within the City of Detroit is a big thing that we’re trying to do more of with my foundation.

“We do see things up here. I know especially this year from board meetings we’ve had, we’re putting more effort into working with the children here or doing food drives here for the hungry in the winter time.

“Just those efforts, they’ll continue to grow up here. It’s really important, especially with the youth, helping these guys be productive with their off time whether it be sports or academics. That’s the focus of what we’re trying to do and help these young people become leaders in the future.

“It’s not hard for us to connect with kids here for the main reason they’re taking us in. So it’s more of a responsibility for us. A lot of the guys on the team are household names so automatically the community is going to take us in. They want us to be around so it’s just upon us to give our time and efforts.

“I don’t feel pressure to be involved, it’s more fun – especially when you get to work with kids because they bring energy and keep you young. Playing with the kids today at the Living for the City event – that was really cool. I haven’t played foursquare since I was like 10 years old.

“I got to have some good interactions with the kids. It sucks that we didn’t get to spend a little more time with them because we had a lot of talking and other stuff like that. But we did have fun. I got to meet a lot of them and they seemed like they had a good time.”

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Johnson: “If there are games you circle, this should definitely be one of those games”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 12, 2012 – 4:48 pm

“Nate made some big catches last week. That catch he made in the middle of the field was really big. It could have been a third down. He kept that drive going. I was happy with the way the receivers came out with their mindset ready to fight. Not just the receivers, but the offense as a whole.

“Especially during the end of the game when we had to score, we could have been thinking, ‘We need a field goal to tie the game’, but we said we needed a touchdown to win. That’s the mindset we gotta have and I was happy to see it.

“Kevin might have had a couple drops, but he stayed in the game. He didn’t let those things get to him and he kept playing to the next play and – by doing so – good things happen to you. He ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown for us, so that was big. I was happy to see that for him.

“Thinking back to last year’s game against these guys, I remember I was ticked off because we let that one get away. One that we had a grasp on and it messed up our perfect season early in the season. That’s the one thing that sticks out. On top of that, they came to our house to do it. That’s why I’m happy we get to go there and try and disturb their season early.

“Looking to this week, if there are games you circle, this should definitely be one of the games. One, because it’s early in the season and Sunday night, but at the same times, a lot of guys – most of the guys that were here last year – they got a bad taste in their mouth from the way that the game ended last year. Not even talking about all the extra stuff that happened, but just from on the field. We felt we had that game and we let it get away.

“All the off-the-field talk I’m able to tune out pretty good. The only reason that we hear about it is because somebody brings it up, whether it be a coach or media. That’s not something that I think is on a lot of guys’ radars as far as this game is concerned.

“Getting a win against a playoff team is definitely something that you would like to see – us performing at a better level against teams like that. To do so this early in the season would definitely put us in a good spot. I know last week we didn’t start the way we wanted to. We finished the way we wanted to, but we didn’t play the whole game like we wanted to. We felt that was a game that shouldn’t have been where is was, so we can’t have those same kind of mistakes if we definitely want to win this week.

“The 49ers have a good defense, a very good front seven. The big thing on our side is being where we’re supposed to be at the right time because they can put some heat on the quarterback.”

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