Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

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Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby Pudge » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:38 pm

I'd like to see Johnson make the final 9 or 10 over Reynolds.

http://www.atlantafalcons.com/2012/07/v ... sive-line/

Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line
By: Daniel Cox | July 31st, 2012
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Training camp is hard enough on a young player, but Mike Johnson is taking on a few extra challenges in addition to learning new protection schemes inside of Dirk Koetter’s offense.

Drafted as a guard in 2010, Johnson has been seeing time at right tackle lately and is working to make the adjustment in practice.

“I did it a little during OTAs, but I’ve kind of moved over a little bit more during camp,” Johnson said. “It’s been an adjustment and I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of a different position. You kind of get set with certain things over at guard. On the outside, you have to remind yourself of the small things. It’s going decent so far, I’ve just got to keep working every day.”

While a competition is looming at right guard between at least three players, Johnson is settling in behind Tyson Clabo, the team’s starter at right tackle. For a player that earned two All-American honors at Alabama playing mostly at guard, there’s been some learning on the job. Fortunately, Johnson filled in as a tackle some while in college, but at the highest level, the skill techniques are even more different.

“Punch timing, moving your feet, being able to run the hoop around the quarterback (are some of the differences),” Johnson said. “It’s some stuff you don’t have to deal with at guard. You take on the bullrush and move side to side. You don’t really have that on the outside so much. You have to learn to turn your hips and get your hands out early.”

Recently, head coach Mike Smith said the limited numbers in addition to the starting five players the Falcons can carry at offensive line means they want players that can do exactly what Johnson is doing. Smith said he wanted tackles that could play guard and guards that could play center. Johnson is living the cross-training philosophies of Smith and he thinks his chances are improved by it.

“I think it’s huge,” he said. “Obviously, there are some set positions on the offensive line and there are some that aren’t. The more that I can work on and play in games and get on film to show what I can do, the better chance that I have of making the team.”
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Re: Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby RobertAP » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:05 am

... I need some help here... Didn't we draft Johnson to play guard, and Reynolds to play Tackle? Why are we playing both of them out of position? Why not play Johnson at Guard and Reynolds at RT?

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Re: Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby fun gus » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:26 am

RobertAP wrote:... I need some help here... Didn't we draft Johnson to play guard, and Reynolds to play Tackle? Why are we playing both of them out of position? Why not play Johnson at Guard and Reynolds at RT?



Its maddening. This 'cross training' crap. You get the best center in the the draft, but you dont put him there. :doh:

I wouldn't be surprised to see McClure at LT at some point :ninja:
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Re: Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby widetrak21 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:06 am

In theory its nice, but in reality its much more difficult to cross train olineman. I've seen very few olineman be good utility men, and the hidden part is you have to be smart enough to step right in and perform at the various positions. Like he explained, the mentality and skill set between G and T is very different.
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Re: Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby Pudge » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:15 pm

It's funny because we had a good utility guy in Ojinnaka and they traded him away. You're right, it's good to give guys reps at other positions. But it's messed up because if a roster spot comes down to Johnson or Reynolds, unfortunately, how well Johnson can play tackle is going to be a big part of who stays and who goes. Johnson wasn't a good tackle at Alabama, but he was a very good guard. But his ability to stick on the Falcons roster unfortunately will be determined by how good a tackle he can potentially be. Reynolds is the in opposite camp, as he's not a good guard, but a competent tackle.

If it was me making the decision, IMO I would keep Johnson over Reynolds. Reynolds just doesn't have the upside to be anything more than a career backup. He's tough and he's mean, but he lacks the athleticism to be a prime candidate to succeed Clabo at RT long-term. And unless he's really improved his technique, balance, and hands and can now play low, then he's not going to be a potential starter at guard.

Now Johnson had talent when you drafted him, didn't play particularly well his first summer, but I thought was on par with Reynolds last summer, and was just hurt by the days/weeks he missed with the concussion. Now, if in practices/preseason games, Reynolds is consistently outplaying Johnson, then I understand, but if it's close, then I'm going to go with Johnson simply because I know that he possesses the skills/traits to offer some upside as a starting guard in the future, especially if we move Konz to center next year.

Svitek is a more than capable reserve right tackle, so I don't really care whether Johnson or Reynolds can play tackle.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Re: Versatility Helps Mike Johnson On The Offensive Line

Postby Cyril » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:51 pm

Well Johnson has not showed us anything but talk from coaches. I agree the cross training is overrated because usually a guy plays guard
because he's just a better guard than tackle. Coach Smith talks about this non-stop; but rarely has it helped us except maybe for Claybo!!
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