Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley didn't coach Jeron Johnson for too long in Seattle. He was there when Johnson made it as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011. And he was there when Johnson made the team again a year later.
Johnson, though, made enough of an impact for Bradley to know what the Washington Redskins have in their new safety. Whether Johnson can be a quality starter or not, we'll see this season. He has just one career start after all and, based on his contract, the Redskins like him but still aren't sure themselves. Johnson has much to prove in that regard.
However, what he does add is something Washington needs: a level of toughness in the secondary. That's not just physical toughness, but a mentality. It's one Ryan Clark brought last season. Like Johnson, Clark was once an undrafted free agent. Like Johnson, he played for a Super Bowl champion. But Johnson is just entering his prime; Clark, last season, was headed toward retirement.
"He's really strong mentally, tough, aggressive, good hitter," Bradley said of Johnson last week at the NFL owners meetings. "He just didn't have an opportunity to play as much but he'll bring toughness to the secondary."
That's the same with corner Chris Culliver. Adding two players like that will help. How much? We've all heard before what sort of difference a guy will make in Washington only to see otherwise. So it's tough to go overboard stating their possibilities and, besides, we first need to see them on the field with their new teammates. Any player must prove it to his new team.
But the more you have players who understand their roles and who just do their jobs -- and know how to prepare -- the better off you are as a team. That, and a good pass rush, will help any defense. Johnson isn't a presence like Kam Chancellor or a speed guy in the middle like Earl Thomas -- the two safeties he backed up in Seattle.
But he's a guy who can help the Redskins, whether it's as a backup/special teamer or as a starter.
"When Kam was hurt at times he did a nice job," Bradley said. "He's just waiting for an opportunity."