View Full Version : Does Jerrod Johnson have a chance?

03-17-2012, 07:42 AM

Posted by Mike Huff, March 17th 2012, 8:13 am EST

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed two quarterbacks this off-season.

Troy Smith and Jerrod Johnson.

There is obvious excitement surrounding Smith, the former Heisman winner, but it’s the other – less touted player – who may end up being a steal of a signing.

Jerrod Johnson played his college ball at Texas A&M where he finished his career, albeit on the sidelines, the Aggies’ all-time leader in total offense.




Johnson is interesting. I don't think he is just a player you can say "camp arm" about and move on. I don't know that he has enough going for him to beat out Smith, though.

03-17-2012, 08:51 AM
Excitement about Troy Smith? I must be lacking the excitement bg this morning, lol.

03-17-2012, 11:20 AM
Jerrod Johnson should of left college after his junior year. he may have gotten a real contract and would never of been a free agent this early.

03-17-2012, 12:52 PM
Jerrod Johnson should of left college after his junior year. he may have gotten a real contract and would never of been a free agent this early.

Yeah, I feel like he'd of gotten a real shot were that the case. Who knows what kind of condition he's in to compete now. He's been playing against mediocre-no competition for the last couple years.

03-17-2012, 06:09 PM
Hopefully both are let go. IMO, neither of them will make it in the NFL. If the Steelers want a QB who can run, but not throw, then they should keep Dixon.

I would rather keep Batch/Leftwich or sign Shaun Hill, if possible.

Fire Arians
03-17-2012, 10:00 PM
we need new backups at qb. leftwich and batch are getting old and are injury prone. if anything let them compete for the #2 and #3 spots, a little competition is a good thing.

Hawaii 5-0
08-18-2012, 12:58 AM
QB Johnson is someone you can root for

by Jim Wexell, publisher of SteelCityInsider.net
Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012

LATROBE — Quarterback Jerrod Johnson lost his starting job after seven games of his senior season at Texas A&M.

Then he wasn’t drafted.

Then he joined a UFL team that went out of business.

Then he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Then he was cut.

All of this happened in the space of 10 months, and probably about 13 months if you include the complete fall from preseason Heisman hopeful to out-of-work athlete.

But Johnson didn’t give up on his dream. He signed with the Steelers, and a year after being cut by the Eagles Johnson’s in line to play as much as the three other Steelers quarterbacks combined at the halfway point of the preseason.

Who is this guy?

And why is he going to play so much again Sunday night?

“He’s a guy that hasn’t had a bunch of in-game experience, particularly prior to this year,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in preparation for Sunday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“Even though he’s been in an NFL training camp, I think he’s only taken about four preseason snaps. We want to see what he is capable of. We want him to get acclimated to an environment and give him a fair opportunity to see what he’s capable of.”

In the second half last week, Johnson threw only one impressive pass, a back-shoulder out to Tyler Beiler for 30 yards that set up a go-head field goal right after the two-minute warning.

Throughout the remainder of the game, Johnson completed 2 of 5 passes for 93 yards, including a screen pass to Chris Rainey that went 57 yards for a touchdown.

Most of Johnson’s incompletions that night were similar to his camp incompletions: butt ugly.

Still, Tomlin wants to see more.

“He’s a young guy that’s showing the growth and development that young guys show,” Tomlin said. “He’s had some good days and he’s had some days where he’s taken a step back or two.”

Tomlin said that “we’re looking at four candidates probably for three spots,” so he doesn’t want to make a mistake on Johnson, an imposing 6-foot-5, 251-pounder with exceptional mobility and a work ethic and personality that had Tomlin raving the first night of training camp.

Johnson was a highly regarded pro prospect before undergoing shoulder surgery in the spring of his senior season. He may have come back too soon because he lost velocity and accuracy, and he’s struggled with the latter at this camp.

But Tomlin refuses to give up on him, probably because he saw Johnson play on a Thanksgiving night in 2009 when the college football world watched open-mouthed at the athletic show put on my both Johnson and Colt McCoy.

Johnson passed for 342 yards and rushed for 97. McCoy passed for 304 and rushed for 175 in Texas’ 49-39 win. It set McCoy up to be drafted the following April, but Johnson – a coach’s son and dedicated Aggie – opted to return for his senior season.

It may have been his undoing.

“After that game was the first time my shoulder started to hurt a little bit,” Johnson said Friday at St. Vincent College. “I had surgery on my rotator cuff that January. I rehabbed and came back my senior year and it just got sore again. I just wasn’t the same.”

Johnson said he fell for the preseason hype and “I worked a little bit too hard in the offseason. Once the season got there, it kind of gave out on me.”

Part of Tomlin’s patience in Johnson has to do with the fact Johnson took five months off after being cut by the Eagles to let his shoulder heal. Tomlin also wants to see what can happen if Johnson re-locates a consistent release point in his throwing motion.

“My shoulder hurt for so long and my throwing motion had become how it was when I was hurt,” Johnson said. “I got that time off to really kind of grind out how I was going to throw the ball and I got my throwing motion set now and I’m having the success I’m used to having.”

And so he’s being called upon to play the second half once again.

He was asked if this is his Super Bowl.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Those other guys have played so much football, man, and they’ve had great careers and they’re veterans, so our preseason minds are probably a little bit different. This is my opportunity to play. Any time I step on the field, especially in a game, I take it seriously. Hopefully it can be a breakout game for me. I’m going to go out there with confidence and guns blazing and try to put some points on the board.”

It’s been a rough couple of years for a player with loads of upside potential. Tomlin knows this and is willing to give him every last opportunity. It’s what coaches with patient bosses in stable organizations are afforded to do.

“He’s sharp, he’s attentive, he has the desire to be great, and he’s working extremely hard,” Tomlin said.

At least Jerrod Johnson will make the second half of the second preseason game worth watching. He has that kind of upside. And he’s the kind of person you root for.


Hawaii 5-0
08-18-2012, 01:07 AM
Second-year QB Johnson looks to keep impressing

By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012

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Steelers quarterback Jerrod Johnson during practice at St. Vincent College Aug. 17, 2012.

Coach Mike Tomlin will take a longer look at his starters on Sunday night when the Steelers host the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field.

Tomlin, too, has higher expectations in Week 2 of the preseason. Admittedly, some players and certain positions will get more scrutiny as the Steelers try to rebound from a 24-23 loss in Philadelphia.

“We’re excited about getting after our second preseason game, more significantly our first one at home,” Tomlin said. “It’s significant for us, and I expect us to take a big step individually and collectively, particularly with our young people.”

Specifically, Tomlin will closely evaluate quarterback Jerrod Johnson. The second-year Texas A&M product is expected to close out the game against the Colts.

“That’s a plan we’ve approached going into this thing,” Tomlin said. “We want to give Johnson a lot of work, particularly in the first two games.

“He’s a guy who hasn’t had a bunch of in-game experience. I think, prior to this year, even though he’s been in preseason camp, he hasn’t taken but four or so preseason snaps.”

The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Johnson, who signed as a free agent shortly after the Steelers’ playoff loss in Denver, is trying to get his NFL career on track. He missed his entire rookie season after being released by the Eagles.

“Hopefully, we can put some points on the board and move the ball down field,” said Johnson, who tossed a 57-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Rainey last week. “I’m excited about the opportunity to play, and I’m confident about having a chance to sling the ball around a little bit. I don’t have much experience in an NFL game.”

So far, he has been impressive during training camp. Surprisingly, he has thrust himself into position to compete with veteran Charlie Batch for the No. 3 job behind backup Byron Leftwich, who Tomlin said will not play Sunday.

“We want to get (Johnson) acclimated to the environment to give him a fair opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing,” Tomlin said. “He is a young guy who is showing some growth and development. He’s had some good days, and he’s had some days where he’s taken a step back or two.”

Tomlin is often a tough talent evaluator, but said Johnson is sharp, attentive and has a desire to be great. Johnson will relieve Batch, who has tutored him throughout training camp.

“All I can worry about is learning as much as I can from those guys,” said Johnson, who because of rotator cuff surgery surrendered his starting job to Miami’s No. 1 pick, Ryan Tannehill, during his senior year at Texas A&M. “At the end of the day, whatever decision the coaches make, I can live with it.

“I think I’ve done well, but there are definitely some things I can work on. I think I’m good enough to make this team, but it’s up to the coaches.”

Johnson has impressed the coaching staff with his understanding of ability to read coverage. Still, most of his lessons have come in the classroom and on the practice field.

Johnson has earned a chance to prove he belongs in the NFL. On the other hand, Batch and Leftwich have proved they can win.

“I was fortunate to learn a lot from an NFL guy like (Dolphins offensive coordinator) Mike Sherman while I was in college,” Johnson said. “From a mental aspect, on top of my physical gifts and athletic ability, I believe I deserve to be in the league.”


08-18-2012, 07:58 AM
Well, he needs to do better than the first game. Cuz' he showed me nothing.

08-18-2012, 08:21 AM
6'5' 251? Holy crap, I didn't realize he was so big!

Love to see him do well as game 1 was kinda ugly.... A QB like that could present some interesting options.

Atlanta Dan
08-18-2012, 08:22 AM
Ed. B. of the P-G does not anticipate Johnson will even be retained for the practice squad

Quarterback Jerrod Johnson has size (6-5, 250), talent and a big arm but he has been inconsistent and there is no time for the Steelers to allow him to become consistent. Put him on the practice squad? Not if they keep three quarterbacks which they seem intent on doing again. There’s no work for a fourth quarterback on a regular season 53-man roster. I always thought the league should have some kind of quarterback developmental program, where young players such as Johnson and Dennis Dixon could hone their games if they did not make a roster. I do not know how that would be accomplished, but it seems a waste to let that kind of talent just wither.


08-18-2012, 10:17 AM
Im rooting for the guy,we really need to get younger at QB

08-18-2012, 12:21 PM
Well, he needs to do better than the first game. Cuz' he showed me nothing.

He also had no blocking.

08-18-2012, 10:31 PM
He played with the 3rd string group. Have to give him a better chance.

08-18-2012, 10:52 PM
He played with the 3rd string group. Have to give him a better chance.

From what I saw of him, the problem wasn't his supporting cast. Almost every pass he attempted just looked flat out awful, even a couple short passes to wide open guys I remember.

Really didn't look like someone ready to take a spot from Batch or Leftwich but maybe he'll do better tomorrow.

08-19-2012, 12:25 AM
His blocking, particularly from the tackle positions with Beachum and Kyle Jolly, was terrible. He was constantly on the run. That's why he only attempted 6 passes in an entire half.

08-19-2012, 12:45 AM
Thankfully they let Smith go. Now if they would finally get around to letting Johnson go...

Hawaii 5-0
08-19-2012, 11:50 PM
after tonight's performance against the Colts I would say he definitely does have a chance...

08-20-2012, 12:29 AM

08-20-2012, 06:07 AM
Yeah, he looked much better than last week. Now they have to figure out which is the real Johnson...

08-20-2012, 06:05 PM
It's time to Start Grooming an Heir Apparent/primary back-up to maybe take over in 4-5 years...Why not Johnson?

Hawaii 5-0
08-21-2012, 03:34 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Jerrod Johnson is Finally Healthy, Opening Some Eyes During Preseason Action

August 20th, 2012
By Mark Mihalko


Sunday night the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Indianapolis Colts on a fourth quarter drive led by futures free agent quarterback Jerrod Johnson. While this was late in the game against back ups, what Johnson did was definitely worth noting.

Unlike the week before in Philadelphia, Johnson was more than a game manager and displayed a lot of poise inside the offense. In fact, he seemed in total control, even checking into positive plays when the occasion deemed necessary. More importantly, he seemed to outplay venerable veteran Charlie Batch on a relatively level playing field.

Yes, many will point to the fact that Batch had a solid statistical game, completing 7-of-10 passes for 84 yards in a little over a quarter. However, he did not seem in control of the offense and definitely did not look comfortable behind center, as the offense seemed to sputter along.

Last night, Johnson was the anti-Batch showing a strong arm, good agility and some excellent pocket presence. He finished the game by going 4-of-5 passing for 65 yards. In fact, fans may have to go back to the 2009 Texas A&M game tape to see more well-rounded action from the 6-5, 253-pound quarterback, who looks like a player finally all the way back from the shoulder injury that plagued his final seasons with the Aggies. Prior to the injury, he was a gifted quarterback with a strong arm, mobility and pocket awareness, attributes that were all on display against the Colts.

At this point in camp, fans have to wonder how the back up quarterback competition will shake out and if Johnson has a chance at making the opening day roster. With his performances, that answer should be a resounding yes. Veteran Byron Leftwich looks to have the primary back up behind Ben Roethlisberger solidified if he can stay healthy, which leaves one opening (based on previous roster breakdowns) for Johnson and Batch to fight for. By taking into account the performances, his natural skill set and upside, Johnson should be in the lead for that spot.

Sure, Batch is a fan favorite and consummate professional, but at his age, it may be time for the Steelers to add some young talent to the pool. On top of that, it is unlikely another team comes calling if he is released, something that cannot be said for certain at this point when looking at Johnson, who definitely opened some eyes as a potential long-term back up in the league.

Only time will tell how things shake out during the final weeks of preseason action, but one thing is certain. The Steelers have more of a back up quarterback competition on their hands than they ever imagined and Johnson is the player who made that happen.


08-21-2012, 09:40 PM
Gotta keep this kid, we NEED youth at that position.
Can't keep Batch AND Leftwich as your 2 backups.
Too old, brittle, and immobile
Plus, Johnson looked OK on a few throws. Go with potential here, it's worth a shot.
No logic in keeping both veterans over him; their performance doesn't warrant it.

Hawaii 5-0
08-24-2012, 04:46 PM
Steelers Position Battles: QB Jerrod Johnson Won't Play Saturday, Is He Finished?

by Neal Coolong on Aug 24, 2012


With four quarterbacks in camp, and the third preseason game being largely dedicated to those who will either have a helmet on Sundays or are fighting for the chance to get one, QB Jerrod Johnson will likely not see the field when the Steelers take on Buffalo Saturday.

It will likely be handled by starter Ben Roethlisberger and back-up Byron Leftwich, possibly with a late appearance by Charlie Batch.

Does this mean Jerrod Johnson's fate has been sealed? Not necessarily.

Odds were long against him making the 53-man roster as a quarterback in the first place. The Steelers rarely keep a fourth quarterback on the practice squad, simply because there just isn't enough time and reps to get another quarterback any kind of significant work.

But does he have to be on the practice squad as a quarterback?

Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette appeared on Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio Thursday, and floated an interesting proposition. With Johnson's impending release, and intriguing athleticism still apparent, maybe the team would stash him on their practice squad as a tight end or a receiver, give him some work at a different position, thus maintaining his rights for next season, where he could come back again for another shot at a quarterback position.

Granted, unorthodox roster moves and the Pittsburgh Steelers are like oil and water, the main point is keeping a quarterback around the team to get to know and understand the offense. He may not get live snaps as a quarterback, but he can be around the other quarterbacks, the coaches and the rest of the team and absorb how the offense will ideally run.

The alternative is to release him and risk having him get picked up by another team. That doesn't seem very likely, as Bouchette points out to Florio, every year it seems there's a player the Steelers don't want to release because someone else will pick him up. It doesn't seem to happen very often.

Other teams in the league run into the same problem with fourth-string/practice squad quarterbacks simply not being in a position to get reps in practice, and Johnson wouldn't likely sign with the Steelers' practice squad to play a different position, even if it's more or less to better himself as a quarterback in the most realistic way possible at this point in the season.

The reality is, we'll likely see a lot of Johnson in the Steelers final preseason game, showcasing him for other teams to possibly pick him up, and ensuring the three quarterbacks the Steelers will keep won't get hurt.


08-24-2012, 06:34 PM
The black and gold have a tendency to cut backup quarterbacks i'm a big fan of. Dennis Dixon was the most recent. Is Jerrod really a better fit than Dixon?????

08-24-2012, 08:26 PM
I liked what I saw in the kid. I'd keep him and get rid of Leftwitch.

08-25-2012, 02:47 AM
It's time to Start Grooming an Heir Apparent/primary back-up to maybe take over in 4-5 years...Why not Johnson?

Because he is not the answer. I am hoping the Steelers look into getting a real QB when BR retires.

08-25-2012, 05:33 AM
In this position I'd keep Batch for the knowledge and experience. Johnson for the youth. And let Leftwich walk. Every year he seems to be hurt in one way or another.

Galax Steeler
08-25-2012, 06:08 AM
Because he is not the answer. I am hoping the Steelers look into getting a real QB when BR retires.

This is true hopefully they will do that in the next couple of years.

08-25-2012, 06:33 AM
Because he is not the answer. I am hoping the Steelers look into getting a real QB when BR retires.

Huh? Jerrod Johnson is 6'5 250 pounds. He had a GREAT arm in college, and on top of all that, he can scramble for some yards. He's only 24 years old and has only been in the league a year. I don't see ANY reason why this kid couldn't be groomed into our main backup. If the Steelers are going to "look" into getting a real QB, it should be the one who takes over BR's spot.

I think Johnson can be a great backup, as long as he stays consistent. He's basically Ben Roethlisberger's clone as far as build. I think he'll be good for us. Hopefully he shows something good in the last preseason game, he probably won't play tonight.

Hawaii 5-0
08-28-2012, 03:04 PM
QB Johnson hoping to hang on with Steelers

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012
Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Jerrod Johnson passes in the fourth quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

PITTSBURGH – Jerrod Johnson is in no hurry to embark on a career as a gym teacher. He first wants to make a living by throwing a football.

At this stage of the preseason, it’s hard to gauge if Johnson has what it takes to make it long-term in the NFL. But on the bright side, he’s making the most of his chances so far as the Steelers’ fourth-team quarterback.

“Some of the other coaches and I were just talking about Jerrod,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Monday after practice. “In the preseason games he’s played, he’s obviously played against third-team and fourth-team guys. But among his peers, he’s playing as well as anyone at those points in those games.”

After three preseason games, the Steelers (2-1) have gotten strong performances from all their QBs. They’ve combined for a league-high 116.5 passer rating. The only other team over 100 is the Washington Redskins at 102.1.

Starter Ben Roethlisberger has a 97.5 rating with backup Byron Leftwich at 131.1 and third-stringer Charlie Batch at 95.5.

Johnson, a rookie who holds 24 passing records at Texas A&M, has a team-high rating of 137.5.

“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from the other guys and get better every day,” said Johnson, who's completed 7 of 11 passes for 158 yards, one touchown and no interceptions in the two games he's played (he didn't play Saturday in Buffalo).

"Every rep I get in practice and every rep I get in a game is huge for me.”

As a Texas A&M junior in 2009, Johnson played so well early in the season that he was mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate. That talk died down, however, when the Aggies cooled off after a 3-0 start and finished 6-7.

Johnson finished that season throwing for 3,579 yards and 30 touchdown passes as well as rushing for 506 yards and eight more TDs. He also set a Big 12 record by throwing 242 straight passes without an interception.

But in the off-season between his junior and senior season, Johnson needed surgery on his right throwing shoulder. He then struggled as a senior, throwing nine interceptions in the A&M’s first five games. By mid-season he was replaced in the starting lineup.

So it came as no surprise that no NFL team took Johnson in the 2011 draft. He then signed with the Philadelphia Eagles but didn’t survive the final cut.

So Johnson spent the entire year out of football. He found work teaching physical education at an elementary school in Dallas. But he never gave up his hope of playing in the NFL.

He got his second chance when the Steelers signed him, and now he’s trying to prove he belongs.

It may be hard for Johnson, a big man at 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds, to make his way onto the opening-day 53-man roster. But he may earn a spot on the practice squad. If the Steelers gamble and open the season with only two QBs – Roethlisberger and Leftwich – and cut Batch, Johnson will make the practice squad.

“All the possible scenarios depend on so many things,” Haley said. “It will all come down to the wire.”

On Thursday when the Steelers play their fourth and final preseason game, Johnson figures to play the entire second half. He’s hoping to play well enough that even if the Steelers cut him Friday, other teams in the league needing QB help will take notice.

Johnson wouldn’t even mind sticking around on the Steelers’ eight-man practice squad.

“When I talked to Coach (Mike) Tomlin and (general manager) Kevin Colbert when they signed me, they respected my story and how I handled my adversity my senior year at A&M,” he said. “I believe my character fits the Steelers’ mold, and on top of that, they hoped I could regain my physical abilities prior to getting hurt.

“They told me ‘If you can show us that, you’ll have an opportunity to make this team.’ I’m thankful for that opportunity.

“Of course, I’d love to make the 53-man roster,” Johnson added. “But at the end of the day, I’d just love to get paid for playing football and living out my dream.”


08-28-2012, 03:35 PM
Nice story. I could see them keeping him on the PS. Cant see them keeping Leftu and Batch though. 2 million dollar +backups? Batch should just retire and coach!

08-28-2012, 03:50 PM
Batch signed a one year contract to remain with the Steelers on April 16, 2012, unfortunately, i'm among the crowd that believes this may be his last week of cuts with us. He's been an AWESOME backup for us for many, many years, and he's a hometown boy, but his talents may not match the talents of others on the team.

08-28-2012, 04:26 PM
Batch signed a one year contract to remain with the Steelers on April 16, 2012, unfortunately, i'm among the crowd that believes this may be his last week of cuts with us. He's been an AWESOME backup for us for many, many years, and he's a hometown boy, but his talents may not match the talents of others on the team.

:applaudit: :hatsoff:

It's gotta be Ben, Leftwich, and Johnson. NEED youth at that position.
Charlie, thanks for all of your contributions to the :tt04: :helmet: :tt02:

08-28-2012, 04:29 PM
:applaudit: :hatsoff:

It's gotta be Ben, Leftwich, and Johnson. NEED youth at that position.
Charlie, thanks for all of your contributions to the :tt04: :helmet: :tt02:

I agree with that, actually. My post was geared towards what I think the Steelers would do, not what I want them to do. If it was my decision, and the number was three, i'd keep Johnson over Charlie, too. But i'd also hold the best-damn retirement ceremony known to man for Batch, because he deserves it.