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TOPIC: Cornerback Kevin Johnson required little introduct

Cornerback Kevin Johnson required little introduct 1 month 2 weeks ago #65944

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ORCHARD PARK L.J. Collier Jersey , N.Y. (AP) — signing with the Buffalo Bills this spring while attempting to put behind his injury-troubled past with Houston Texans.Johnson was already familiar with Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, who held the same role during Johnson’s first three seasons in Houston. And then there was the surprising warm welcome the 2015 first-round draft pick received from Bills starter Tre’Davious White.“I was like, ‘Man, I’m happy you’re here because you remind me so much of myself,'” White said, recalling the first conversation he had shortly after Johnson signed a one-year deal with Buffalo in March. “I was like, ‘That’s what I need. I need somebody that’s going to push me in practice.'”Though the two never played together or knew each other for that matter, White became a big fan after Johnson was selected by Houston with the 16th pick out of Wake Forest. White, then entering his junior season at LSU, was such a student of football he would study each of the top cornerback selections to see how he compared and what he needed to work on to improve his own game.What stood out about Johnson was his remarkable footwork.“His footwork is crazy. He has elite quickness, elite change of the direction,” White said. “It’s just unfortunate the injury stuff that he can’t control has shorted him up to this point and time. But when he’s on the field and he’s healthy, he’s a great, great corner. He’s going to be good for us.”The sentiment is shared by Johnson, who is competing for the starting job opposite White, and attempting to kick-start a career after a series of injuries limited him to playing a combined 19 games in his past three seasons following a promising rookie year.“It’s frustrating , but through all that I feel like I’m battle tested because of it,” Johnson said, referring to his past.“I don’t necessarily say I feel I have to prove anything. But for me, I want to finish what I started,” he added. “And that’s just something that motivates me.”Johnson’s versatility stood out during his first season with Houston, for whom he had 11 starts in 17 games — including one in the playoffs — while splitting time at all four secondary positions.The troubles began when he missed the final 10 games of the 2016 season after breaking his foot in a 26-23 overtime win against Indianapolis. Johnson was credited with 10 tackles and a pass defended in that game while missing just one snapplaying through the injury — while knowing it would likely be his final game of the season.The following year, Johnson missed four games with a sprained knee. And then came last year, with his season ending during the Texans’ opener when he sustained his second concussion in a month’s span.Houston elected to release Johnson rather than pick up the fifth-year contract option, valued at $9 million.The 26-year-old Johnson met with several teams before signing a one-year contract with Buffalo.Reuniting with assistant coach Butler played a factor, as did the chance to play in a defense that favors defensive backs, and finished allowing the second-fewest yards in the NFL last season. Getting recruited by White didn’t hurt, either.“That was awesome. This is a respect thing,” Johnson said of having a fan in White. “I’ve got the same mutual respect for Tre’ and his ability to play the game.”While White’s starting spot is locked up, Johnson’s future is less certain. He’s competing with returning starter Levi Wallace and free-agent addition E.J. Gaines, who returned to Buffalo after spending last season in Cleveland.Johnson has shown glimpses of his ability during spring practices, in which he had three interceptions before the Bills opened their three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday. Butler said he sees the same physical abilities the 6-foot Johnson displayed during his firstthree seasons in Houston. The only question is whether he can stay healthy.Johnson said he’s not once felt sorry for himself over what’s happened.“I believe in myself D.K. Metcalf Jersey ,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I ever shook my head. I just embraced it all. And I think that’s what makes me me now.”NOTES: C Mitch Morse has begun practicing after having surgery to repair a groin injury shortly after signing with the Bills. … WR Cole Beasley practiced on a limited basis after having a similar operation as Morse. … WR Robert Foster was held out of practice after hurting his foot last week. ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Matt Patricia wants the Detroit Lions to stay the course.The Lions have lost three games in a row — all by double digits — and are mired in last place. Their most recent defeat was an ugly one. Detroit fell behind 26-0 in the second quarter and eventually lost 34-22 at Chicago on Sunday.Patricia’s first season as coach has been a disappointment so far, and if he has any easy, quick fixes at his disposal, he wasn’t sharing them in his Monday news conference.“No time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Patricia said. “We have to just keep working and getting better.”Offensive lineman Taylor Decker sounded a similar refrain.“You’ve just got to play better,” Decker said. “At the end of the day, you’ve just got to perform better. I know that sounds cliche. It’s a simple answer, but it’s not easy to do.”The Lions (3-6) lost their first two games of the season, then fought back to a 3-3 mark before this current losing skid. They traded receiver Golden Tate before going on the road to face Minnesota and Chicago, and Detroit never led in either of those games.The past two games have been particularly rough from a pass protection standpoint. Detroit allowed 10 sacks against the Vikings and six against the Bears.“Whatever the situation is, whatever the score is, we have to play better as an offensive line. We have to protect the quarterback,” Decker said. “Six sacks isn’t something that’s going to be acceptable, and we know that.”So now the Lions are back where they were after those first two losses — playing catch-up. Only now, they don’t have a long season still in front of them. Detroit’s next three games are at home , but all are against teams with winning records in Carolina, Chicago and the Los Angeles Rams.The Lions fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano last week, but Patricia indicated no more staff changes are imminent. He said communication between him and the players is good.“I think we understand (that) we’re working hard to try to get everything the right way. There’s not a big discussion about it, there’s not a big confrontation or anything like that. I don’t know where any of that really comes from outside the building,” Patricia said.“Inside the building, we’re just trying to get better. We really are just working really hard to make sure we’re doing the right things and trying to find different ways, if we have to, to get those things done.”Detroit went 9-7 last season and then fired coach Jim Caldwell, so that makes the decline in 2018 even more alarming. Quarterback Matthew Stafford turned 30 earlier this year, and although the Lions traded Tate — a potential free agent at season’s end — for a draft pick, this franchise doesn’t seem as if it’s in a rebuilding mode.That means the rest of this season is significant. Whether they make the playoffs or not, the Lions need to show some progress — some reason for fans to trust that this roster and this coach are better than what the team has shown so far.“I believe in this team and we’re going to work real hard every single day,” Patricia said. “I think the guys in that room, I have a great understanding of what they are and what we’re going to do as a team. We’re not hitting the panic button or anything like that right now. We’re just trying to get better.”NOTES: P Sam Martin didn’t go into much detail about the medical issue that sent him to the hospital, other than to say he’s fine and will play this coming weekend. He said he got blocked during a return Sunday. … The Lions waived CB Lenzy Pipkins.
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