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Question about T. Johnson


cocktailcove
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Is he the guy that made got the sack on Culpepper in the pre-season?

Just trying to figure out wether we will be looking for more free agent. Smith made the comment that any of our DT could do the job. Didnt know we were that deep there.

Here is the answer to your question about Johnson, answered by TD himself my good man

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I said it before and I'll say it again, losing Jerry wasn't a step back. However terrible it may seem, he was not

the second best DT on our team. In fact I believe Johnson, Jefferson, and Lewis outplayed him in the preseason.

In the NFL they love playing their first-round draft picks, it's a "play the money" sort of speak. Jerry will be missed,

but we are better at DT. I predict a long game for T. Brady. The guys playing DT this weekend are hungry and will play

like they have something to gain; as compared to being a privileged first-round pick who's playing out of courtesy.

A courtesy to protect the decisions of the front office.

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For the Atlanta Falcons' Thomas Johnson, the time is now

August 20, 9:58 PM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

The Atlanta Falcons made a move in early January that was inconspicuous as most signings in the NFL in January are.

It wasn't a headline-making signing. For some NFL teams, the 2008 season was still in play. Somewhere buried beneath the news of the NFL playoffs was a meager announcement that the Atlanta Falcons, on January 5, had signed three players to reserve/future contracts.

In the NFL that means the team signed three players that weren't on any team's active roster. Some weren't even in football. Some people call them "camp bodies.'

Of the three that day, only one is still with the Falcons. In fact, he started last week's preseason game against the Detroit Lions. He's Thomas Johnson and some would say he's just another typical journeyman.

In some ways that could be true. He spent six months in the 2007 season out of football, teaching at White Station High School in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee (he earned an Education degree from Middle Tennessee State University). At that time he'd already spent two seasons in the NFL, 2005 with the Dallas Cowboys and 2006 with the Houston, Texans.

But he couldn't catch on and he spent his time waiting. The New York Jets called in '08 and he spent training camp with them, but was eventually cut.

He continued to work out, staying in shape and training his 6'2", 304 pound body, not quite ready to give up. His fiancée worked and took care of the finances while he waited for one more shot.

The Falcons came calling and here he is, three weeks into training camp with the Falcons, starting alongside first-round draft picks and Pro Bowlers. To say he's thankful for the opportunity is putting it mildly.

"It means a lot to be here," he said. "I really want to be here. It's a good team with great coaches. I'm really looking forward to being here."

The 28-year-old, five years removed from college, speaks about his opportunity in the future tense. He's been through this part before and he knows cuts are coming soon. If he's cut again it could be disastrous for his career. He could be running out of time to get his football career on track and he's trying to make the most of his chance with Atlanta.

"Right now it feels real good, (to be in camp)," Johnson said recently. "But we've still got three weeks left, so I've still got to keep grinding and keep trying to improve."

For guys like him, you learn everything you can every chance you get. He speaks about the defensive line with pride, calling it the "D-line" and rattles off the stats and accomplishments of players like John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux.

"It feels real good to be in there with those guys," Johnson said. "John Abraham, Babineaux, it feels real good to play beside guys like that."

But the person that has helped him the most is his position coach, Ray Hamilton. He mentions Coach Hamilton multiple times, saying he's never had a coach like him.

"Coach Hamilton is one of the best coaches I've ever had."

It's men like Hamilton that have helped Johnson get where he is. A deeply religious man, he also credits his pastor from back home as playing an integral role in his life.

"My pastor, Reverend Morgan, in West Memphis, Arkansas, he played a big role in my life," Johnson said of the pastor of New Mt. Zion Baptist Church. "He's like a father figure to me. I never had a father."

His faith is a major part of his game. Following last week's preseason game in which he had three tackles and one goal line, drive-stopping sack of Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper, Johnson who speaks in quick, short statements, said simply that he will continue to pray and play.

It had been a while since he'd brought an NFL quarterback to the ground. In 2006, with the Texans, he registered four sacks, a number that implies talent that has perhaps just been overlooked.

When asked about the sack, he swelled with enthusiasm. He knows it's only the preseason, but the sack came at a critical time and could go a long way toward keeping him on the team.

"That was awesome, man," Johnson said. "I just got penetration. I tried to get my hands on the center, he avoided me. The guard tried to cut me; I avoided the cut and fell on the sack."

Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith has been pleased with what he's seen from the soft spoken tackle. He describes an explosive and strong player who's "done a lot of really good things so far in camp.”

Those are the kinds of things a player like Johnson needs to hear to keep moving forward. If he continues to perform how he has three weeks into camp, he's got a great chance to win a job with Atlanta. It just so happens, the defensive line is one of the spots on the team that Smith likes a strong rotation of players.

"We want to get a rotation in our defensive line," Smith said recently. "Even though you say that “this guy is a starter, that guy is a starter,” we want to have seven or eight guys that we feel comfortable with that we can rotate through. That is really our approach to the defensive line.”

It may be a situation of right time, right place for Johnson. No matter the reason, he's found himself in Atlanta, the teaching career on hold, praying, playing, and maybe putting up some numbers that one day another young player will speak about in awe.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Fal...-thomas-johnson

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I said it before and I'll say it again, losing Jerry wasn't a step back. However terrible it may seem, he was not

the second best DT on our team. In fact I believe Johnson, Jefferson, and Lewis outplayed him in the preseason.

In the NFL they love playing their first-round draft picks, it's a "play the money" sort of speak. Jerry will be missed,

but we are better at DT. I predict a long game for T. Brady. The guys playing DT this weekend are hungry and will play

like they have something to gain; as compared to being a privileged first-round pick who's playing out of courtesy.

A courtesy to protect the decisions of the front office.

First couple of games yes, not the last couple of games. He started to dominate physically. He wasn't a stat machine but he took on double teams and he also got much penetration on a lot of plays. I think we are still fine with Trey Lewis and Johnson rotating but Peria earned th3e starting position. Just as Coach Smitty said. He earned it which means despite your opinion, the professionals thought other wise.

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