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hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 03:23 PM
David Johnson is your new Steelers full time Fullback

May 23,2012

So it appears that new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is putting at least some type of emphasis on the fullback position after all. Many fans were wondering if the team would draft a FB late in the draft last month, or perhaps pick up an undrafted free agent to fill that role. Things became a bit more clear, or perhaps even more clouded depending on how you look at it, according to Ed Bouchette via his blog:

Excerpt below (the full story can be read for subscribers). Either way there definitely appears to be a change of emphasis on the style of running that the Steelers will do.

"Steelers just finished their second spring practice and halfback Isaac Redman dropped some news – tight end David Johnson has been moved to fullback on a fulltime basis. He no longer attends meetings with the tight ends and will be part of the running backs meetings. Redman also said there will be more emphasis put on the running game this season."

to read the rest of the story click on the link below:

http://www.steeleraddicts.com/2012/05...

Crash
05-23-2012, 03:24 PM
Yay. Yoi!

RuthlessBurgher
05-23-2012, 03:39 PM
Someone tell them that when we said we wanted a fullback, we meant we wanted a GOOD fullback!

Ghost
05-23-2012, 04:08 PM
I am mystified that this is the best they can do at the FB position. :wft

Djfan
05-23-2012, 04:15 PM
Should have given that honor to Legs.

hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 04:19 PM
Should have given that honor to Legs.

I hope Legs is our FB in short yardage and goal line situations.

SteelBucks
05-23-2012, 04:27 PM
Heaven forbid we get a REAL fullback.

Steelerphile
05-23-2012, 04:34 PM
Believe it or not, DJ blocked well from the fullback position last season. He's not a great offensive threat at tight end, so it makes sense to me. The more reps he gets just at one position, the more proficient he will be. I am one of DJ's few fans.

Djfan
05-23-2012, 05:12 PM
Believe it or not, DJ blocked well from the fullback position last season. He's not a great offensive threat at tight end, so it makes sense to me. The more reps he gets just at one position, the more proficient he will be. I am one of DJ's few fans.

I really want to be one of his fans. I can't tell you exactly how many, but I remember seeing him run through holes, hitting no one. The defenders let him past, just to hit the runner. After the tackle DJ was standing in the middle of the field looking around.

RuthlessBurgher
05-23-2012, 05:46 PM
I really want to be one of his fans. I can't tell you exactly how many, but I remember seeing him run through holes, hitting no one. The defenders let him past, just to hit the runner. After the tackle DJ was standing in the middle of the field looking around.

The rule of thumb in football is, even if you miss your assignment, hit someone!!!

steelerkeylargo
05-23-2012, 06:02 PM
Ask Mendenhall what he thinks of Johnson's blocking ability!!

DukieBoy
05-23-2012, 06:33 PM
​Trade him to Arizona.

Shawn
05-23-2012, 08:08 PM
Ask Mendenhall what he thinks of Johnson's blocking ability!!

Since we can't do that, why don't you tell us.

phillyesq
05-23-2012, 08:28 PM
If the Steelers are going to use a FB, why not at least bring in a natural UDFA to compete with Johnson? Or bring in one of the veteran guys that was cut (I think Mughelli is out there).

RuthlessBurgher
05-23-2012, 08:34 PM
While we are talking about fullbacks, a guy I had in my mock already retired due to a concussion at minicamp (following a concussion at the Senior Bowl). And since he was an UDFA of the Ravens, it's relevant to our division as well (a Browns UDFA LB also gave up the NFL dream because of concussion nightmares).


Another rookie cites concussions in passing on NFL

By Peter Barzilai, USA TODAY
Updated 5d 9h ago

Chad Diehl's NFL career is over before it started after the undrafted fullback announced his retirement following a concussion sustained during a rookie minicamp last weekend.

Chad Diehl is passing on trying to make the NFL after sustaining another head injury, he says.

Diehl, 6-2, 260 pounds, was a blocking fullback at Clemson before signing as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens after the draft. He was probably a longshot to make the Ravens so he says he decided to step away from football after another head injury, according to the Spartansburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal.

From Diehl's Facebook page:

At rookie mini-camp this past weekend I suffered another concussion. With this concussion happening so soon after the concussion I had in January at the Senior Bowl it left many people concerned including family, doctors, and myself about my health and future if I were to continue playing.

With that being said, after having an MRI done, along with multiple tests and a history of quite a few collisions as a fullback, the doctor and I came into agreement that it would be in my best interest for my football career to go ahead and come to an end.

I know that God has a plan for everything and I love my wife and daughter way too much to risk my future with them. To all of my friends, family, and fans, I love (you) too and want to say thank (you) for all of your support over my years of playing football. God bless.

Diehl is the second undrafted free agent this spring to cite concussions as a reason to quit football, following Cleveland Browns linebacker Andrew Sweat, who chose to attend law school instead.


http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/05/another-rookie-cites-concussions-in-passing-on-nfl/1

hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 10:04 PM
Johnson Versus Johnson Training Camp Battle Appears To Be On The Horizon

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers have completed their first two OTA practices of the 2012 season and quite a good bit of information has come out since the team has reassembled this week in Pittsburgh. The past few days we received confirmation on what we already knew heading into the week and that is that there are two fullbacks on the roster in the form of David Johnson and Will Johnson. Running back Jonathan Dwyer let us know this on our podcast just prior to this week and fellow running back Isaac Redman confirmed it to the media on Wednesday.

While training camp is still a good two months away from getting underway, it certainly seems that one of the battles setting up this far out is Johnson versus Johnson. David was a restricted free agent this offseason after his rookie contract was up and has since been tendered and re-signed. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 draft and has played tight end, h-back and fullback for the Steelers over that span of time. He also has played on some special teams units in addition.

In three years David has caught 18 passes for 146 yards during the regular season to go along with 1 touchdown, which he scored last season against the Tennessee Titans. He also has nearly 870 offensive snaps under his belt over the course of the last three seasons that consist of a few great blocks to go along with a few missed blocks and assignments. While David is far from being a Pro Bowl caliber fullback type, and even farther away from being a Pro Bowl tight end, he did have four or five good cumulative games last season in the blocking department. He will never be the type of pass receiving option to run away from linebackers as either a fullback or a tight end and he is certainly not regarded as a special demon.

The other Johnson fullback currently attending running back meetings is Will, the 6 foot 2 converted WVU wide receiver who caught the eye of head coach Mike Tomlin at the Mountaineers pro day prior to the draft. This Johnson went undrafted in 2011 and was pretty much lost in laundry thanks to lockout last off-season. He worked three jobs this past year and continued to train in hopes of impressing scouts and coaches alike when he showed up at the aforementioned pro day back in March.

Although not part of the 2012 draft class, Will put up 225 pounds 30 times on the bench, which was more than anyone at that pro day, and one scout reportedly timed him at an unofficial 4.49 during his 40 yard dash. He played under the recently deceased Bill Stewart while at Morgantown, where he reportedly grew into his frame his final few seasons there. Stewart of course was responsible for giving Tomlin his first college coaching job many moons ago, so it would not be surprising to find out that Tomlin had already heard about Will prior to this past March.

The college tape of Will shows smooth route running and he plays fast on tape out of the backfield in addition. The only real question about him is if he can handle blocking at the NFL level. He played in 45 college games during his career at WVU and recorded 25 catches for 249 yards to go along with 4 touchdowns. Another pending question will be his ability to play on special teams. He is credited with 5 total tackles during his college career, 2 of which were solo.

While more and more tidbits continue to emerge as to what we can expect the new offense of Todd Haley to look like, it appears on the surface that a fullback could be included in certain packages. The only other player on the roster that appears to meet the criteria of a true fullback is Jamie McCoy, who spent a good part of the 2011 season on the Steelers practice squad. We have yet to hear the name of McCoy mentioned though in any of the fullback talk this off-season, so it figures that it could possibly come down to a Johnson versus Johnson training camp battle, if indeed the idea is to keep one of the two.

We will revisit this potential battle this closer to training camp getting underway as quite a bit can happen in the way of roster moves between now and then. If another true fullback type is added, hopefully his last name is not Johnson as well. I wonder if Ben Roethlisberger still thinks the team doesn't need a fullback.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/johnson_versus_johnson_training_camp_battle_appear s_to_be_on_the_horizon/10859810

NorthCoast
05-23-2012, 10:18 PM
Believe it or not, DJ blocked well from the fullback position last season. He's not a great offensive threat at tight end, so it makes sense to me. The more reps he gets just at one position, the more proficient he will be. I am one of DJ's few fans.


Not sure which game that was, but every other game I saw DJ hitting pretty much noone or glancing off his target.

Crash
05-23-2012, 10:32 PM
DJ sucks. If he plays as much for Haley as he did for BA he has pictures of someone having sex with a goat.

hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 11:31 PM
DJ sucks. If he plays as much for Haley as he did for BA he has pictures of someone having sex with a goat.

even worse, the goat was just a kid...

DBR96A
05-23-2012, 11:43 PM
Wouldn't this necessitate a number change? You can't wear #85 if you're a FB. Maybe he'll have to switch to #35 or #45.

steelz09
05-23-2012, 11:44 PM
Believe it or not, DJ blocked well from the fullback position last season. He's not a great offensive threat at tight end, so it makes sense to me. The more reps he gets just at one position, the more proficient he will be. I am one of DJ's few fans.

No he didnt. Half the time he runs thru the hole and doesnt touch a body

hawaiiansteel
05-24-2012, 02:21 AM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012
posted by Dale Lolley

OTA news and notes

Isaac Redman told reporters today that the Steelers do, indeed, have a fullback on the roster. The Steelers have moved David Johnson to fullback on a full-time basis.

Redman said this will help Johnson as a blocker since he formerly had to go to tight end meetings and did not attend sessions with the running backs. Redman, who is glad about the change, said the running backs will be better able to show Johnson where they would like their lead blocker during their film breakdowns.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

hawaiiansteel
05-24-2012, 02:39 AM
MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter:

Liking what I see from Will Johnson at fullback

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/

Steelerphile
05-24-2012, 05:12 AM
No he didnt. Half the time he runs thru the hole and doesnt touch a body

I'm sorry you're regurgitating the common claptrap and bad rap. I've reviewed the games. That's a total lie. DJ he makes a very solid block, almost every time.

Djfan
05-24-2012, 09:28 AM
I'm sorry you're regurgitating the common claptrap and bad rap. I've reviewed the games. That's a total lie. DJ he makes a very solid block, almost every time.

I can't remember a game where I once said "Good block" by DJ, even though I have said that about his catches. I have said "Hey DJ, how about you put the meat on a defender for once" many times.

SteelCrazy
05-24-2012, 10:20 AM
Remember that game from Feb. 6th 2011? DJ made a heck of a block to help Mendy fumble the ball. This is going to be one of the few things wrong with the Offense. I hope the guy saying DJ is good is proven right.

grotonsteel
05-24-2012, 11:03 AM
Can't they find a better FB than DJ??? DJ can't block and he can't catch. He is one of the biggest reason why Steelers don't have 7th SB.

Where is Dan Krieder nowadays?

phillyesq
05-24-2012, 11:10 AM
OTA news and notes

Isaac Redman told reporters today that the Steelers do, indeed, have a fullback on the roster. The Steelers have moved David Johnson to fullback on a full-time basis.

Redman said this will help Johnson as a blocker since he formerly had to go to tight end meetings and did not attend sessions with the running backs. Redman, who is glad about the change, said the running backs will be better able to show Johnson where they would like their lead blocker during their film breakdowns.

@ Draft picks David DeCastro, Mike Adams and Alameda Ta'amu are not at these OTAs because their colleges are still in session.

@ Linebacker Jason Worilds was at the session today but not practicing. He has a cast on his left wrist.

Defensive end Brett Keisel is among those not here as well. He's still recovering from his groin injury suffered against Denver.

@ Talked to Keenan Lewis today. He feels like the starting job is his to lose after logging more than 500 defensive snaps last season.

He also said he's been in constant contact with teammate Mike Wallace and that it is difficult seeing people rip his friend for not being at the OTAs. The other players don't mind.

@ Also spoke with Maurkice Pouncey briefly about the new offense. He said that the blocking scheme isn't different, just some different verbiage.

He also likes the move of Willie Colon to guard. Said it gives the Steelers a lot of nasty in the middle of the line.


Reading between the lines, it seems like the running backs aren't always pleased with Johnson's decisions as a lead blocker.

RuthlessBurgher
05-24-2012, 01:17 PM
even worse, the goat was just a kid...

Well played, sir...well played...

http://img0.etsystatic.com/il_170x135.323188848.jpg

RuthlessBurgher
05-24-2012, 01:19 PM
MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter:

Liking what I see from Will Johnson at fullback

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/

The scouting reports I've read for Will Johnson make him sound more like a John L. Williams type of fullback rather than a Dan Kreider type of fullback, which can be a good thing for this offense, since Haley seems to want to involve the RB's more in the passing game.

hawaiiansteel
05-24-2012, 07:57 PM
Fullback Is Nothing New For David Johnson & His Position Switch Is Not Surprising

Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

http://img2.yardbarker.com/media/e/0/e02d5450dc435835c6bc0152cb45c8b855bdc5bd/related/Pittsburgh_Steelers_Practice_77b3.jpg?stamp=133720 8243

The big news from day two of the Pittsburgh Steelers first OTA session of the 2012 season that everyone is buzzing about today seems to be the announcement that David Johnson is no longer considered a tight end now, but a fullback instead. There are even some clamoring that he needs to hurry up and change his number to one in the 40's as well. The truth is that Johnson is no stranger to lining up in the backfield with his hand in the dirt through his first three seasons in the league.

I went back and did a quick check of our game participation charting from last year, and during the regular season Johnson was lined up as a fullback 113 times out of 451 regular season offensive snaps. That 113 does not include times when he was in the backfield as an h-back either. That 133 equates to a quarter of his offensive snaps basically and roughly 7 snaps a game that he lined up as a fullback.

I posted early this morning on what the characteristics of the offense of Todd Haley is starting to look like, and yes, I included the use of a fullback. Not sure why that is a huge surprise, but many I think believe that this means 25 to 30 snaps a game that Haley will use one with his hand in the dirt. I don't think so and in fact would be surprised if one was used more than 10 times a game total on average. Assuming the Steelers offense runs on the average of 60 offensive plays a game, or roughly 1000 plays for the season, 160 plays that utilize a fullback would be about right. It might end up being even less than that.

Haley has shown to be very multiple in his personnel groupings over the years, so there figures to be quite a bit of shuffling of players throughout a game between running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and yes, fullbacks. The news on Wednesday that Johnson is a true fullback now signals that he is no longer considered a tight end anymore, but didn't we really already know that headed into this week? Just look at the build and physique of Johnson for Christs' sakes.

Some are clamoring for the Steelers to go out and get a true, "traditional" fullback, and while there are a few street free agents still out there, I doubt one will be added. The league has shifted away from the traditional fullback now and even linebackers coach Keith Butler said as much after the draft when he was quoted as saying, "Everybody is using tight ends as fullbacks and sometimes they use them when trying to lead and sometimes they don’t. A lot of stuff today is mis-direction and trying to fool you or out-number you one way and then give you a different look coming back the other way." Basically the fullback is no longer just a straight ahead lead blocker like most like to pigeon hole the skill set of that position as being is what Butler is saying.

Just because a player has a fullback designation next to his name does not mean that every snap he takes on offense will have him with his hand in the dirt and lined up straight ahead of the running back. The fullback position is not the fullback position of 10 years ago, just like the tight end position has started to become more hybrid, so too has the fullback position. Don't freak out just because Johnson had the letters "TE" removed from beside his name and the letters "FB" used now instead. This is nothing new for Johnson.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/fullback_is_nothing_new_for_david_johnson_his_posi tion_switch_is_not_surprising/10864427

RuthlessBurgher
05-24-2012, 08:12 PM
Wouldn't this necessitate a number change? You can't wear #85 if you're a FB. Maybe he'll have to switch to #35 or #45.

Gosh-darn-it!!! Just when he was ready to make the all-too-popular transition from Johnson to Ochocinco too. :p

Djfan
05-24-2012, 08:34 PM
Good article, Hawaiian. Nice find.

I hope that the skill set of the players dictates the style, not the trend of the league. I think the guy has the tools. Maybe he needs coaching? He's clearly a load of a man. Hit the hole and level someone. Even if it takes you out of the play, you moved one guy. That's 1-3 more yards for the ball carrier.

Let's hope. I'm pulling for him. Coach him, Haley!

fordfixer
05-24-2012, 09:47 PM
Gosh-darn-it!!! Just when he was ready to make the all-too-popular transition from Johnson to Ochocinco too. :p
He could still change his name to "Sir Wiff Alot":D

hawaiiansteel
05-25-2012, 03:03 AM
Steelers offense is under construction

May 24, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Todd Haley already has answered questions about his offense without ever speaking a word publicly. There will be a fullback, there will be more passes thrown to backs, there will be an increased devotion to the running game, including in practices, and there will be a greater attempt to keep Ben Roethlisberger out of harms way.

Two practices into the month-long spring drills and players are revealing more and more about their new offense. Isaac Redman is the latest to do so; the presumptive starting halfback announced Wednesday that tight end David Johnson, who sometimes acted like a fullback in Bruce Arians' offense, has been switched to fullback fulltime.

"Yeah, there's a fullback in the offense," Redman said. "They moved David Johnson over to fullback. He's not a tight end anymore, he's strictly a fullback now."

There's even another officially listed fullback on the roster, West Virginia's Will Johnson.

While Johnson's move might sound as though it's merely a name change because he likely played fullback more often than he did tight end, the switch means something.

"That's going to help develop him," Redman said, "now that he's in our meeting rooms and being able to see what type of blocks that we have, and what type of blocks that we want from him. Instead of him being a tight end in the tight-end room and kind of doing fullback as a second job, he's strictly focusing on fullback. I think that will help him a lot."

What that means in terms of roster makeup -- two tight ends, one fullback instead of three and zero, or one fewer halfback? -- has not yet been determined, or at least revealed publicly. What it means in terms of philosophy is simple: The Steelers want a better running game that also will help their play-action passing game.

They would not appear to be dealing from strength in that matter since their horse of the past three seasons, Rashard Mendenhall, had ACL surgery in January.

But Redman and coach Mike Tomlin, among others, believe they have enough quality and quantity at halfback to make it go.

Redman will start, barring unforeseen circumstances. The others include Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey.

"I like all the men," Tomlin said in March, while addressing the backfield. "When given the opportunity, they've all shown that they are capable of being reasons why we win ... Isaac Redman has proven that he is a legitimate NFL running back. He is not an unknown commodity. Jonathan Dwyer has been in our program for a number of years now. He had a 100-yard game a year ago. We all are excited about Baron Batch ... John Clay got an opportunity, and all he did was score the first time he touched the ball in the NFL."

None, though, has done it on a fulltime basis in the NFL.

Redman, undrafted from Bowie State in 2009 when he was on and off the practice squad but never the 53-man roster, more than doubled his '10 rushing attempts to 110 last season. That comes to almost seven per game. Mendenhall averaged more than 20 carries in '10.

Redman said he is "getting ready to carry this load if that's what they want me to do ... Just trying to make sure I'm in tip-top shape to be called on 20-25 times a game, which I know I can handle."

He may not have to do that. Haley might have a different philosophy on using his backs, splitting things up rather than giving 300 carries to one.

But, "We kind of emphasize getting the ball to the running backs a little more this year," Redman said. "We'll see how that goes ...

"We're definitely eager to see how this thing is going to go and how the running game is going to work out. It's tough on everybody to learn a new offense and to learn a new system and new verbiage. We're just trying to get the hang of it ... This new offense is supposed to be easier on the offensive line, and we have a couple of new O-linemen coming in, so hopefully that will open it up."

Mendenhall running, but ...

Mendenhall has been on the field running in practices and said his repaired ACL is doing well.

"Everything's gotten a lot better. It's been healing well, there are no setbacks, I'm feeling great ... I talked to a lot of guys who have been through this. The way I feel now, the way it's been healing, the way I take care of my body, I'm not worried at all."

The Steelers' first-round draft choice in '08, Mendenhall's injury occurred in the final regular-season game in Cleveland last season, which ended a disappointing year for him. He missed one other game with an injury and finished with 928 yards rushing, his lowest total in his three otherwise healthy seasons after he missed most of his rookie year with a broken shoulder.

This is the final year of his contract, usually one that would involve negotiations on an extension.

With the injury and unknown status entering the '12 season, no talks are known to have taken place.

Mendenhall said there is no timetable on his return to the team.

Doctors told him recovery could be anywhere from six to 12 months. General manager Kevin Colbert said in March that Mendenhall likely would open on the physically unable to perform list.

"I haven't really thought about anything like that," Mendenhall said.

"I just focus on getting 100 percent."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-offense-is-under-construction-637341/?p=0

Oviedo
05-25-2012, 07:50 PM
I leave the country and go to England for the week and you guys let this crap happen. The idea is to get rid of Johnson nor change his position. He sucks everywhere!!!

hawaiiansteel
05-26-2012, 01:58 AM
Wouldn't this necessitate a number change? You can't wear #85 if you're a FB. Maybe he'll have to switch to #35 or #45.

oh no, what will both of the Steelers fans who bought DJ's #85 jersey do now?

Steelerphile
05-26-2012, 06:23 AM
Steelers offense is under construction

May 24, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



"Yeah, there's a fullback in the offense," Redman said. "They moved David Johnson over to fullback. He's not a tight end anymore, he's strictly a fullback now."

There's even another officially listed fullback on the roster, West Virginia's Will Johnson.

While Johnson's move might sound as though it's merely a name change because he likely played fullback more often than he did tight end, the switch means something.

"That's going to help develop him," Redman said, "now that he's in our meeting rooms and being able to see what type of blocks that we have, and what type of blocks that we want from him. Instead of him being a tight end in the tight-end room and kind of doing fullback as a second job, he's strictly focusing on fullback. I think that will help him a lot."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-offense-is-under-construction-637341/?p=0

If David Johnson did as well blocking from the fullback position, as he did, with what seems to be little or no practice to do it, as Redman indicates; then I am very encouraged about what type of FB DJ could become. The board gets on a guy, like DJ and it can be relentless and completely lacking in perspective. This junk about how he whiffed on half his blocks is complete fiction. He figured it out pretty well and did a solid job leading the runner and had some key blocks where he freed Mendenhall or Redman for nice gains. So I see the spirit and fire in Johnson and that is why I support him. With full time focus on FB, I think he will deliver some true kayo kind of blocks. I am not discounting Will Johnson, who is probably a better offensive player, but DJ will indubitably be the better blocker.

hawaiiansteel
08-09-2012, 12:59 AM
Interesting Developments: Steelers Johnson Named As A TE

Aug 8th, 2012 by CraigSteelers

http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/58/files/2012/08/6414962.jpg?272bbf

When the Steelers signed Leonard Pope to a contract during the offseason and then drafted David Paulson in the draft, I was pretty certain that David Johnson would be named the team’s fullback. He was… but then Mike Tomlin pulled a bit of the ol’ switcharoo when announced that Johnson would be back at playing his dual role as FB/TE. And, with that announcement brings even more uncertainty to an already crowded position for the Steelers.

The Steelers haven’t had a ‘real’ fullback since Dan Kreider in 2007. Underutilized with the arrival of Bruce Arians, Kreider was quickly dismissed and was picked up by the Rams and then finished his career in Arizona. David Johnson joined the team as a 7th rounder in 2009. Johnson quickly began playing a dual role as TE and FB. Seemingly a better blocker after getting a head of steam, Johnson appeared more comfortable in the FB position. In May of this year, the coaching staff said that Johnson would be playing fullback in the upcoming season. That was good news for Johnson, and I for one was excited for the change. I liked Johnson – quiet but a continually hard worker throughout the season – and did not want to see him fall victim to elimination by numbers.

It only took less than three months of a few OTA’s, mini-camps and two weeks of camp for Johnson to get moved back to the dual role. Ok so it’s not 100% official, but Tomlin said that Johnson would be taking significant reps at TE when the team returned from Philly. I don’t think this is ‘bad news’ for Johnson. I’m sure he’s been doing just fine at FB. I think what it really means is that this is code from Tomlin stating that he’s not happy with his other tight ends. Putting Johnson back at TE puts pressure on the others already there – would the team really carry 4 TE’s or more? Doubtful.

So who’s the one not stepping up? Heath Miller? Are you kidding? Newly acquired Leonard Pope? Suspended Wesley Saunders? Or is the rookie, David Paulson, out of Oregon already blowing it? My money is on the uncertainty of Saunders state of readiness when he returns from a four game suspension. He was an undrafted FA last season and had yet to really impress. He could be on a short leash when he returns. The team may be getting Johnson ready for the possibility of playing TE either until Saunders returns, or that Saunders absence becomes a permanent one. David Paulson is probably safe for at least this year until he can develop during his rookie season. Leonard doesn’t seem to be the right choice in this mix of ‘who’s it gonna be?’ because he’s come straight from Todd Haley’s system over in Kansas City.

I still believe that Johnson will ultimately get to play FB and only FB for the majority of the season. The Steelers, as in Steeler fashion, are just doing a bit of CYA in case they can’t get three strong TE’s within the first few weeks of the season.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/08/08/interesting-developments-steelers-johnson-named-as-a-te/