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As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on veteran safety Jeron Johnson.
1. He's happy where he landed:It's difficult to move from one coast to another, especially when you haven't lived anywhere else. Jeron Johnson, a backup to Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas in Seattle, signed with the Redskins to break out of that role. He's glad they gave him a chance, and he's ready to be adopted by the east coast.
Check out images of veteran safety Jeron Johnson during his first few months as a Washington Redskin.
"I'm happy. I'm happy where I landed. It was a slow process. It was a grind," he said. "You had those big market guys get off the board first. Being a backup behind Kam [Chancellor] and Earl [Thomas] for so long I didn't get a chance to get too much film up there. So, it was a slow process, but I'm happy with the result…This is my first time ever going to be living on the east coast. I'm excited, man. It's a change."
2. He learned a lot backing up Chancellor and Thomas in Seattle:On the flipside, one of the reasons he was able to gain a contract from the Redskins – aside from his own strong play at safety – was undoubtedly his experience playing with two of the best safeties in the league. The veterans offered "JJ" some worthy advice in his four years with the Seahawks.
"I learned a lot, man. I was just texting Kam right now and he was congratulating me and I just told him, 'Thank you for everything.' I learned a lot from Kam – how to approach the game and how to take care of your body and just all kinds of stuff," he said. I appreciate every one of them up there, and I learned a lot from everyone on that team from the d-linemen to the o-linemen. I took something from everyone and I appreciate everything, the opportunity they gave me up there, what [Dan] Snyder gave me. It's time to go."
3. He and Duke Ihenacho might be competing, but they're still good friends:As is typical during offseason workouts, the subject of position battles and competition between teammates gains a lot of footing. Ihenacho and Johnson are competing for the strong safety position to play alongside Dashon Goldson, but the two of them have familiar roots that ease the tension.
They grew up just thirty minutes apart and faced off in the Mountain West conference. According to Ihenacho, "It's all love" between them. Johnson agrees.
"Whatever he does makes me better, whatever I do makes him better," Johnson said. "We just feed off one another. There's no bad blood off the field at all. If anything, if I see him do something wrong, I'll help him or tell him, and if I do something wrong, he'll tell me. So there's no bad blood at all."
4. But, he did come here to start:This is pretty standard. Johnson is ready to break his backup shackles in Seattle and become one of the leaders on the defense. He knows there are challenges with this belief, but he has a lot of confidence.
"My expectations haven't changed," he said. "I want to be the best player that I can be, and I definitely came here to start. That's my mentality moving forward. That's what I'm trying to do."
Oh yeah, that confidence part.
"I knew Duke was on the roster when I signed here. I also knew he had previous starter experience. So I knew what I was getting myself into. But it's not really about anyone else, it's about myself and what I can do and what I'm trying to do."
5. Gruden is glad to have his winning pedigree:In his four years with Seattle, Johnson knows exactly what it takes to win a Super Bowl, and be a perennial contender. Head coach Jay Gruden is hoping some of that experience rubs off on the team.
"It's important," Gruden said. "You're trying to change the culture and we're all working very hard to do that. You bring in some people with some great leadership skills and have been at winning programs, it's important. They know how to win and how to prepare to win…Having veteran core good leadership is important. We've brought some guys in that can help with that. We've got some guys in-house that are good leaders. It's a good group and I'm impressed with all of them."
6. He didn't mind Boise State's blue field:I suppose you get used to your environment after a few games. Still, Boise State's blue turf field is one of the rare obscurities in college football, so, naturally, people are always going to ask you about it.
"It's normal to me, man. It didn't seem blue after a while. We practiced on it, we played on it so I got used to it."
Yep. Sounds right.
7. He's already changed his kicks:One way to endear yourself to fans and feel a part of a new team is to change your wardrobe. Johnson made a splashy move with his shoes, painting on some burgundy and gold to his sneakers. He's fitting right in.