Stevie Johnson focused on staying healthy in second year with Chargers

Chargers wide receiver Stevie Johnson finished with 45 receptions for 497 yards and three touchdowns last season. Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- In his first season with the San Diego Chargers after joining the team as a free agent in 2015, Stevie Johnson developed a nice rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers.

Now, the 29-year-old receiver just has to figure out how to stay on the field for a full season.

Johnson missed six games because of hamstring and groin injuries last season. He finished with 45 receptions for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

Johnson hasn’t played a full, 16-game season since 2012. But he should be a force in the passing game next season with a little better luck on the injury front.

"I’m just locking in day to day, trying to keep my body right," Johnson said. "Everybody’s feeling good right now. I feel good right now, but I’ve got to maintain that and not try and see too far into the future."

Though he has some familiarity with Rivers, Johnson has to adjust to a new offensive coordinator in Ken Whisenhunt and a new receivers coach, with Nick Sirianni moving over from quarterbacks coach.

Johnson had 40 of his 45 receptions come from the slot position last season, but with Travis Benjamin in the fold and Malcom Floyd retired, he could see more time out on the perimeter.

"I wouldn’t say I’m in a comfort zone (right now)," Johnson said. "It’s still a grind every day trying to learn new things. I’m not perfect it in right now, so it’s still work.

"You always want to prove yourself when you have a new coordinator or a new coach -- even new teammates. You always want to prove to yourself that you can do it. I guess that’s a natural instinct."

Johnson was very productive for the Chargers early in 2015. He had 11 catches for 127 yards on 12 targets through the first two games -- good enough for the highest wide receiver reception percentage in the NFL according to ESPN Stats & Information. Rivers had two touchdowns and no interceptions when passing to Johnson in the first two weeks of the season.

But Rivers has plenty of targets, and with injuries and Rivers spreading the wealth, Johnson’s numbers fell off.

"You just want more," Johnson said. "Even the few catches that I had, they were record-setting catches and it’s a good feeling to be a part of that, but at the same time it wasn’t a good feeling catching them and still having those losses that we had. "Hopefully, in the future we can have those catches and passes, but in winning games."