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Q&A: Jarret Johnson
San Diego and former Baltimore outside linebacker Jarret Johnson reached a four-year agreement Wednesday. Here's what Johnson had to say about the news.
What is your reaction to getting a deal done with San Diego, and what made you interested in signing with the Chargers?
First of all, we’re ecstatic. We’re so excited. Even though it’s tough to leave Baltimore and there’s a lot of mixed emotions because I’ve been there so long, we couldn’t be happier with our decision to become a Charger. One of our biggest decisions, we wanted to be in a good area on a good team, and the Chargers fit that criteria to the max. It’s a great area, a great organization, and this team’s got the potential to be awesome. That’s something I want to be a part of.
You played under Chuck Pagano in Baltimore, and his brother John Pagano is defensive coordinator here. Will that make the transition easier?
That’s part of what made it so easy. Chuck and I have been tight ever since he got there. I’ve met his brother before. I met John before one of the games a couple years ago and he’s what made this decision so easy. I knew him, I knew about him, I know the kind of guy his brother is, so he’s definitely the type of coach you want to play for.
You’ve played in 89 consecutive games including playoffs and you’ve been a durable guy. But linebacker is a tough position in the NFL. Do you feel you can continue to stay healthy?
I have played in a lot of games, but last year was the healthiest year of my career. Normally I come out a little banged up and I’m rehabbing this time of year. This year I went straight to work and started working out right away. Felt good. Even though I’m going into my 10th year, I feel good about it. I always have good offseasons and I’m excited about coming into minicamp and training camp in good shape.
You have a reputation as an aggressive run-stopper. Can you describe your mindset on the field?
My goal on every play is just to dominate the man in front of me. My goal is to have a better play than you’re going to have on every down. I’m a former D-lineman, so I appreciate and have a lot of respect for technique and body position and stuff like that. I’ve never had a lot of huge stats, but I’ve always played within the scheme of the defense and I’m just a durable guy.
You also dropped into coverage some with the Ravens, and I don’t believe you were asked to rush the passer a lot in Baltimore, but do you feel you can do that as well?
You wouldn’t call me a pass-rush guru. I’m a capable pass rusher, but I think my versatility is my strength. I played Sam linebacker for Baltimore and Sam has to do a lot of jobs. Lots of dropping in coverage, different types of coverages, rushing from different sides, line up pretty much at every position. That’s why I’m excited about playing for John is he has a similar defense and I’m going to be able to line up in different spots and be able to be another weapon that he’s already got with Shaun Phillips and all the other guys they already have on that defense. I just want to be there to add another weapon.
You have a couple of former teammates here in Antwan Barnes and Jared Gaither. Do you know those guys pretty well?
I know Barnes really well. Gaither, obviously he was on the other side of the ball, but I know Gaither. Barnes was a couple years younger than me, but I know Barnes really well. A ton of upside. Huge athletic ability. I’ve never been to another team before, but being able to know a few guys is a plus for me.
I hear you go by “Double.” Is that correct?
That’s my nickname. They called me ‘Double J,’ but it just got shortened to ‘Double’ or ‘Dub.’ I’ll pretty much answer to anything.