Will Johnson, who will become a restricted free agent on March 10, added playing tight end to his resume this past season. Johnson loved the new role, and took time out to talk about that and a few other topics.
Can you talk about how your role changed last year and how it helped you?"I think moving to (tight end) Coach (James) Daniel's room was probably one of the best things I could do for my career. My blocking improved tremendously. The coaches were happy with how I did. Now it's just continuing to grow. It's not going to happen in one year. It's a career thing that guys like Heath (Miller) and Matt Spaeth did. If I follow in their footsteps with the guidance of Coach Daniel I will be fine."
Coach Daniel always appears quiet. What is like when he's your coach?**
"He isn't quiet, He is a great coach. He pushes all of his guys. He keeps you on your toes in the meeting room, making sure you know everything. He is not going to slack off at all. He one of the first ones here in the morning and the last to leave at night. He coaches the same way. He coaches his guys hard, even Heath. It's important for me to watch guys like that. He is tough on everyone starting out and I like that in a coach and learn the best that way."
What was it like to have the offense have the type of year it did last year, and to be a part of that?
"It was awesome. You always hear about the Steelers defense, but you rarely hear about the offense. It's big to finally be recognized. It started up front with the big guys on the line and Coach (Mike) Munchak had them playing well. We were able to stay injury free. Ben (Roethlisberger) was playing good ball."
Do you like the role of short yardage back?"Definitely.* *You are in there for a yard. It's a no frills type of run, straight down hill. That is all I know how to do. I am not real fancy like Le'Veon (Bell) and make people miss. I just run straight, see the first down and get the first down. I like it."
Is it one of the toughest yards to get in football?
"Not only are you trying to elude their defenders, you are pushing your own guys in the back and trying to move them as well. It's definitely harder than it looks. It's never just a yard, especially with bodies lying on that yard. You don't know if you have to jump over them. But you are pushing everyone. It's a very tight window that can close very fast. You have to keep your feet driving and your pads low."