Johnson A Tough Self-Critic

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 14, 2010 – 7:15 am

The Vikings enjoyed a dramatically successful season in 2009, advancing all the way to the NFC Championship Game after a 12-4 regular season and the franchise’s 2nd consecutive division title.

But all of that success didn’t shield the Vikings from criticism, as is typically the case in NFL cities.

One player on the team who received more than his fair share of criticism was S Tyrell Johnson. While attending the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund Benefit in Golden Valley last Friday, Johnson expressed to the Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad some frustration regarding the perception the media and fans had of his play.

“Actually, I played very solid,” Johnson told Zulgad. “The media, people have a tendency to remember the big plays that you missed. That doesn’t necessarily wrap up the whole season on what a player did. When I watched film on myself — just being a strong critic – I could have taken better angles on a few plays but overall [my play] was very solid.”

It’s clear to me that this is a source of frustration for Johnson because I talked to him about this same subject Tuesday afternoon in the Vikings locker room. Then I read Zulgad’s piece on Tuesday evening. On one hand you’d like a player to be oblivious to what the media and fans’ perceptions are of his play. At the same time, though, it’s good to know that Johnson clearly takes pride in his work and wants the passionate Vikings fan base behind him.

I asked Johnson if he was going to be around Winter Park over the next few weeks participating in the offseason program and he said “yes” without hesitating and then vowed that 2010 would be a breakout season for him.

In all fairness I do think Johnson received an unfair amount of criticism. As he admits, there were clearly times during the 2009 season when he missed tackles and didn’t make plays. Those instances should not be ignored and they shouldn’t be tolerated by the coaching staff (they weren’t tolerated by the staff, evidenced by the fact that Jamarca Sanford split snaps with Johnson near the end of the season).

But also remember that Johnson was in just his 2nd year during 2009 and his first year as a full-time starter. He improved from his rookie 2008 season to the 2009 season and he’ll likely improve from last season to this season based solely on experience. And now we know he’s a prideful player who is driven to correct the mistakes he made and shore up the Vikings pass defense.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Johnson A Tough Self-Critic”

  1. By Rusch on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    Tyrell Johnson made a few mistakes, thats just what first year starters do . It happens, all part of the game. Missing tackles though as a safety will be glorified especially when a critic looks at this defense with a mircoscope to find a whole in it. I do feel like he will play faster and better this year as long as he keeps his head up and works hard. My bigger concern circles around Williams the other safety. A safety can not be ran over by a quarter back like he was by Jay cutler in the bears game. The vikings defense has some major concerns about E.J. Hendersons leg as well as Cedric Griffin’s leg. I think they wont be back to full form until mid – late season. I think that is a fair to say because E.J. wasnt playing like himself until just before the Arizona game. We should draft a corner. My hopes is we Devin Mcourtny (sp) . He is amazing player that is multi talents. He will come in and be an impact player on special teams and learn how to be a better cover guy under a gread defensive coach. Thats just my 2 cents.

  2. By raul on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    if they would just release madieu williams and start jamarca at SS and tyrell at FS they wouldn’t ned to draft safeties. eric frampton plays 2nd string SS and husain abdulla plays 2nd FS

  3. By purplepain on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    nah… loose johnson and williams!!!! start sanford at ss and get a safety like taylor mays frm usc (if he last that long)!!!!! a corner like cris cook or syd’ quan thomas frm cal as a corner well be great too in the second round!!! we need defense back!!
    something that was lost for toooo long now!! need MAD help n upgrade!! look into it!

  4. By medcineball on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    I still believe in both Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams. The pass defense was not terrible, it was OK. It just wasn’t quite up to the Super Bowl standard it needed to be at. It wasn’t just the safeties. It was also the cornerbacks, linebackers, and the whole defense.

    I just know our guys are going to come back and have a good year in 2010. Go Vikings!

  5. By Rusch on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t know about drafting Taylor Mays. I’am a pac 10 kind of guy and to be honest he has to many question marks. Sure he is work out stud and had an execellent year pior to this one. His weakness i feel is his instincts and ability to play in space. Its hard to believe that guy who runs 4.4 has quickness problems but he doesnt change directions very well and then you add on top that he diagnosis plays late. If you feel I ‘am wrong then you can turn on the tape of the senor bowl and watch him get torched.

  6. By Rusch on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    Also Thomas form Cal is an excellent tackler, plays alot like Windfield but does not have Windfield’s speed or Man to Man coverage skills. He would make for an excellent zone kind of guy and is tough as nails.

  7. By PurplePeopleEater on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    While I agree that he wasn’t terrible, the statements that he made listed in the article make it appear as if he is just shaking off the flaws in his play rather than trying to improve them. Our passing defense still needs to improve as it currently appears to be the weakest link on the team. That requires strict criticism and effort from everyone involved. True improvements won’t be made until each player sees and agrees with what he is doing wrong and THEN makes a plan to fix it.

  8. By vikings012 on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    we need to lose johnson for sure and put in jamarca sanford as r starter and we should draft mays jamarca and mays will be way better then johnson and williams but atleast put sanford ahead of johnson

  9. By Jaydash on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Get rid of williams and sign Ken hamlin

  10. By Chaz on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    I am fine with Tyrell Johnson. We can’t jump the gun and release someone that young in development, every player needs time to grow. On the other hand for how much money we pay Williams he did not live up to expectations. I have faith in every player on our team but our safeties are our biggest weakness on defense right now.

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