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A tough, hardworking grizzled linebacker, both rookies and established veterans seek him out for advice and guidance. Entering his 12th season, Johnson relishes the chance to impart the knowledge he’s gained from over a decade in the NFL.
“It’s kind of my job,” he explained. “The way I see it I bring some stuff to the table. I was fortunate enough to have good players who taught me, and I feel like I’m doing younger players a disservice if I don’t teach them. “
One of the best edge setters in the game, Johnson is a vital cog in the team’s run defense while also showing the ability to still get after the passer. He appeared in 11 regular season games with nine starts in 2013, recording 49 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and two passes defensed. “Double-J” was also productive in the postseason, notching 10 tackles and one sack.
“His leadership means a lot because without him my transition wouldn’t be as smooth as it’s going,” he said. “He knows so many different ways to set the edge and he does a great job with that. His hand placement and feet play a big part too in helping me get better.”
As a rookie, Jerry Attaochu is playing the role Williams did a year ago, and he’s equally effusive in his praise.
“It’s great having him because of his experience in this type of defense,” the rookie said. “I’ve paid attention to the way he learns and he has sort of taken me under his wing. So I want to make him proud when I’m out there. I don’t want him to think I’m wasting his time, so I try to use everything he tells me.”
But it’s not just the youngsters who revere Johnson. Last year’s defensive captain Donald Butler looks to number 96 for inspiration.
“I think the biggest thing you learn from Jarret Johnson is how to be a professional,” he said. “He is a guy who comes in, works hard and leads. You can’t ask for anything more out of him. He’s a hard worker and he leads not only in the weight room, but also the meeting room and also on the field. So you couldn’t ask for any more out of him.”
While Johnson actively teaches anyone who will listen, he still stresses to his teammates that they need to experience and practice it themselves in order to be effective.
“You can tell them all you want but they have to do it on their own,” he said. “I’ll teach the technique stuff, but as far as the mental stuff you’ll have to learn on your own because there is no way to learn it except to experience it. The physicality and how intense it is.” Read