The one thing thing that makes the NFL such a successful organization is their incredible ability to drum up both hype and hope for all 32 teams during the offseason. No matter how terrible a team was the season before, the NFL works hard to get the fans excited about the upcoming season, hoping that they’ll be excited enough to buy tickets to a game and a $12 hot dog.
This offseason hype and hope is something we all love to read about, especially during this time of year. However, it’s not always easy to sift through it and tell what is something to really get excited about and what is merely fluff to generate interest.
Regardless, after reading a recent article by Chip Scoggins at the Star Tribune, I’ll tell you what, I am darn excited to see what Jaymar Johnson can do in training camp and pre-season.
Johnson was a 6th round selection out of Jackson State last year. He spent the entire season on the practice squad which has apparently given him some motivation to surprise everyone in 2009.
I was hearing a lot of rave reviews of Johnson’s speed and new-found bulk throughout OTAs. It seems that being stuck on the practice squad for a year has given him reason to work as hard as he can. Even Brad Childress said, “I can’t think of anybody that’s [worked harder].”
Johnson said that being drafted in the 6th round was bad enough, but being banished to the practice squad made a “chip that was on my shoulder when I got here … into a mansion.”
“As a competitor, it made me mad. But I had to learn from it and take advantage of it. The advantage of being on the practice squad is I got more time to learn and then going against our best. Going against [defensive backs] Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin and Darren Sharper, those three were the main ones in my ear. They said, ‘Jaymar, if you keep working hard, you have the tools to help us.’ ”
He went on to say “Last year is pushing me harder than anything’s ever pushed me in my life. Being on the practice squad, me coming from a small school. That chip that was on my shoulder when I got here has turned into a mansion. No matter how much [Childress] says he’s proud of me or they realize how hard I’ve been working, I appreciate it, but I let it go in one ear and out the other because the mission I’m on now, they’ve turned me into a possessed person,”
Sage Rosenfels made a comment that he thinks Johnson is one of the fastest players in the league and has the ability to beat guys one-on-one.
With Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bobby Wade all but locking up four spots on the roster, Johnson will still have a tough road ahead of him when it comes to making the roster. Assuming everyone stays healthy (knock on wood) through pre-season and that the Vikings come into the season with five wide outs on the roster again, then Johnson has to compete against Aundrae Allison, Darius Reynaud, Glenn Holt, rookie Nick Moore, and rookie Vinny Perretta for one roster spot.
However, if Johnson keeps working this hard and continues to have impressive production, then all five of those guys might just be out of work while Johnson suits up on Sundays.