When the Falcons’ 2013 season kicks off in New Orleans, a new face will be protecting quarterback
The competition between
Johnson, a third-round pick in 2010, has been one of the reserve linemen for the last few seasons and during that time he’s gained valuable experience cross training at both tackle and guard in addition to playing a pass catcher out of Atlanta's jumbo goal line sets.
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“In the past when they had him playing both guard and tackle, it’s been great for him because it gives him a better understanding of the total picture and I think that will help him,” offensive line coach Pat Hill said Wednesday. “…Now he’s starting to really get himself honed into that tackle position.”
Johnson said the tackle position is a bit different from playing guard, but he entered the league with experience at both places. He started four different positions during his All-American days at Alabama so moving around as the Falcons have asked him to do during his career is nothing new and he’s learned the value of versatility from a player’s perspective.
Although he continues to cross train, as do many fellow line mates, it appears right tackle is where Johnson will get his primary shot, a position vacated by former Pro Bowl tackle Tyson Clabo. Hill said young players eventually have to get in-game reps to fully develop into a starting caliber player and this coming season could be the year that Johnson’s snap count goes up.
Johnson joins a host of young players that have watched veterans man the line for a few seasons. In addition to Johnson and Holmes,
Johnson thinks the young guys are ready to put their learning into action.
“We’re ready to get our shot at things,” he said. “I’ve been here three years and whatever I can do to help the team moving forward is what I’ll do.”