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SteelCrazy
08-17-2012, 07:58 PM
Just like last week, expect to see even more of first-year QB Jerrod Johnson in the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason home opener.

Johnson, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M last season, played the entire second half in the Steelers' 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 9.

Tomlin indicated that is the plan again when Pittsburgh hosts the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.

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

QB Ben Roethlisberger will start and Tomlin said the first-teamers will play "about twice as long" as they did against the Eagles.

Byron Leftwich will step in for Roethlisberger and finish the first half. He did not play last week; veteran Charlie Batch will take the Colts game off.

Johnson was 3 for 6 for 93 yards with no interceptions and touchdown pass to rookie Chris Rainey.

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

Anyone's possible: Tomlin said he's not ruling any player out for the Colts game other than the four players who are on the PUP list or just were taken off it Friday. RB Isaac Redman said he won't play Sunday. RB Jonathan Dwyer said he will.

Happy returns: Rainey will again get the bulk of the punt and kick return opportunities early in the game. Tomlin said WRs David Gilreath and Marquis Maze also will see some return work.


http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/nfl-rapidreports/19817466/steelers-jerrod-johnson-to-get-extended-look-at-quarterback

hawaiiansteel
08-18-2012, 01:25 AM
Charlie Batch has a lot lower chance of getting hurt if he doesn't play...

fordfixer
08-18-2012, 01:40 AM
Charlie Batch has a lot lower chance of getting hurt if he doesn't play...

He could get a splinter from the bench

fordfixer
08-18-2012, 01:47 AM
QB Johnson is someone you can root for

http://www.heraldstandard.com/sports/local/qb-johnson-is-someone-you-can-root-for/article_1403d368-5526-59aa-94b9-9bc8e26b5810.html

Jim Wexell,

Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 12:00 am

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.

fordfixer
08-18-2012, 01:56 AM
Second-year QB Johnson looks to keep impressing

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2430606-85/johnson-tomlin-camp-game-nfl-preseason-steelers-batch-colts-field

By Ralph N. Paulk

Published: Saturday, August 18, 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.”

hawaiiansteel
08-18-2012, 02:09 AM
Second-year QB Johnson looks to keep impressing

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

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=lYTZG 2Dd7oABnzGlLHS$QM$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtnt$Cq1emaPnH GaMg8IkDnWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

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.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2430606-85/johnson-tomlin-camp-game-nfl-preseason-steelers-batch-colts-field

Djfan
08-18-2012, 03:14 AM
Not sure what to think about the guy. Anyone have any articles that they can post about him?

8467thekraken
08-18-2012, 05:08 AM
Pleeeaaaassssse be the guy who can put Batch out to pasture.

don't get me wrong. I like Batch.

But A.-There can only be one(apparently), and...

B.-I would like to have that game day active spot on the roster go to something other than our 3rd string QB.

Give 'em hell JJ!!!

fordfixer
08-18-2012, 10:11 AM
Not sure what to think about the guy. Anyone have any articles that they can post about him?
Look and see for your self:D

steelfin
08-18-2012, 10:29 AM
I guess this means we will be 0-2 to start the preseason...Seriously though, he did not look very good last week....I have never seen a professional QB bounce some many passes to his receivers....

I hope he has a good game and can at least compete for a roster spot...we need to add some youth to the backup QB positions. I would much rather see we stop all this nonsense with wanting a Slash type QB threat on the roster. Go find a pocket passer that we can develop as an eventually replacement to Ben. At least someone that we would feel comfortable playing for an extended duration if Ben was injured that isnt over the age of 40...

SF

hawaiiansteel
08-18-2012, 02:34 PM
Not sure what to think about the guy. Anyone have any articles that they can post about him?

:moon :D :Cheers

hawaiiansteel
08-18-2012, 02:56 PM
Ed Bouchette's opinion:

"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."

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/i...-a-strong-camp

Shawn
08-18-2012, 07:34 PM
Johnson earned a shot based upon one off the chain game in college. That coupled with protypical size and a cannon arm. He got benched his senior year but he was playing with a messed up shoulder. He is a wild card with much upside...a guy who could be developed over time.

msp26505
08-18-2012, 08:37 PM
Byron Leftwich will step in for Roethlisberger and finish the first half. He did not play last week;

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would beg to differ.

hawaiiansteel
08-18-2012, 09:06 PM
Johnson earned a shot based upon one off the chain game in college. That coupled with protypical size and a cannon arm. He got benched his senior year but he was playing with a messed up shoulder. He is a wild card with much upside...a guy who could be developed over time.

I agree, he certainly has much more upside than Charlie Batch...

flippy
08-18-2012, 09:45 PM
Ed Bouchette's opinion:

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.


It's called the Arena League. Worked pretty well for guys like Kurt Warner and Tommy Maddox.

hawaiiansteel
08-21-2012, 04:35 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Jerrod Johnson is Finally Healthy, Opening Some Eyes During Preseason Action

August 20th, 2012
By Mark Mihalko

http://lh6.ggpht.com/--WS5RrHCO0c/UDLhW7fAIWI/AAAAAAAAdKk/Ns7RUB7VOEc/Flickr-2969081041.jpg

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.

http://www.steelers101.com/2012/08/20/pittsburgh-steelers-quarterback-jerrod-johnson-is-finally-healthy-opening-some-eyes-during-preseason-action/?doing_wp_cron

Oviedo
08-21-2012, 04:54 PM
Johnson should be the #3. As mentioned above Charlie will always be a phone call away. Make him an assistant coach or Community Relations Coordinator.

We really do have quit living on the edge thinking Ben is indesructable. I had hoped we would draft a project QB this year. Next year we really need to.

ikestops85
08-22-2012, 10:19 AM
I have been impressed with Johnson. While his game against the Eagles wasn't great from a passing perspective I did think he showed poise and targeted the correct receiver. His passing was much better in the Colts game. They guy has talent and deserves a chance. Even though I am a big Batch fan it is time for Charlie to officially start his coaching career and the Steelers to try and develop JJ.

steelblood
08-22-2012, 11:12 AM
I'm sure Charlie won't mind if we cut him and tell him we will call him when a QB goes down. He hasn't minded in the past.

Keep Johnson. Get him lot's of work running scout teams and see if he can develop into Ben's backup. Lolley has been very impressed with him (and, unlike Bouchette, Lolley actually pays attention to this team).

phillyesq
08-22-2012, 11:15 AM
I wonder if the Steelers would go with 2 QBs, keep Johnson on the practice squad, and then release one of Batch or Leftwich. If they needed to carry an extra position player, that might be a way to do it.

I ultimately think that the Steelers will keep the 2 vets unless Johnson really shines.

hawaiiansteel
08-24-2012, 05:48 PM
Steelers Position Battles: QB Jerrod Johnson Won't Play Saturday, Is He Finished?

by Neal Coolong on Aug 24, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/5155450/20120822_ter_al8_104_extra_large.jpg

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.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/8/24/3265040/steelers-position-battles-quarterback-jerrod-johnson

RuthlessBurgher
08-25-2012, 02:21 PM
I wonder if the Steelers would go with 2 QBs, keep Johnson on the practice squad, and then release one of Batch or Leftwich. If they needed to carry an extra position player, that might be a way to do it.

I ultimately think that the Steelers will keep the 2 vets unless Johnson really shines.

I floated this option in another thread somewhere...especially since Mendenhall and Hampton will now be taking up spots on the 53 man roster instead of being stashed on the PUP at the start of the season...we may need to sacrifice a roster spot somewhere...2 active QB's and 1 PS QB may be how we do it.

RuthlessBurgher
08-25-2012, 02:25 PM
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.


This doesn't make sense. In order to get him on the practice squad, you have to release him and risk having him get picked up by another team. And when someone is on the practice squad, other teams can poach those players at any time and put them on their 53 man roster.

hawaiiansteel
08-28-2012, 04:07 PM
QB Johnson hoping to hang on with Steelers

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

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/timesonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/12/912ec09f-3330-5d1b-bb6a-f72b13530533/503bfca972467.preview-300.jpg

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.”

http://burgh.us/ftk

steelblood
08-28-2012, 04:45 PM
I don't get why he can't make the 53 man roster. I like the kid and I'd keep him on the 53. I love his potential.

aggiebones
08-28-2012, 05:47 PM
Why again do we need to old veteran backups?

Chadman
08-28-2012, 07:17 PM
Starting to think he will make the roster. Time seems right to add a young QB. Added to that, Batch isn't likely to garner much interest elsewhere (MAYBe the Colts if Arians wants someone he's worked with before).

NorthCoast
08-28-2012, 08:22 PM
Why again do we need to old veteran backups?

Maybe one,... but certainly not two old veteran backups. Batch or Leftwich needs to make way for the new kid. He has more than proved he deserves a spot.

hawaiiansteel
08-28-2012, 09:20 PM
Maybe one,... but certainly not two old veteran backups. Batch or Leftwich needs to make way for the new kid. He has more than proved he deserves a spot.


it should be Batch then who should get cut because Leftwich looked really good last game.

pittpete
08-28-2012, 09:25 PM
Leftwich definitely has more upside than Batch.
IMHO, there is no way Batch could QB this team for any extended amount of time if something happen to Ben.
Hopefully JJ has a great game vs. Carolina Thursday night and makes this team.
Hire Batch as an assistant QB coach or something along those lines.
I believe he can still be an asset to the team in that sort of capacity.