Photo: Beth Hart, FlickrBY SEAN DONOVAN
“This season is going to be a monster year. I don’t care who’s playing quarterback," Johnson said Monday, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
"I’m going to have a great year. The first day I get to camp, everybody’s mouth can drop the [expletive] open. My game is at the point where it doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback. Oprah can play quarterback and we’ll be all right.”
Though he is the most talented receiver on the Dolphins' roster, Johnson has some on-the-field proving to do before he can return to his former bombastic ways.
In the first 10 years of his career, all with the Bengals, Johnson rarely toned down the boasting to the press and during on-field celebrations. Even while playing for a perennial loser, Johnson's antics were largely tolerated because he backed up his talk between the lines. Six Pro Bowl appearances and seven seasons of 1,000 receiving yards gave No. 85 a little more leash than the average player.
But the Dolphins aren't getting that same guy. Johnson has only eclipsed the 1,000 yard and five touchdown total once since 2007 and is coming off an especially sub-par season in New England. He caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and a single touchdown, easily his worst statistical output since his rookie year despite playing with one of the best QBs in NFL history in Tom Brady.
That poor performance was underlined by accusations that he was unable to learn the playbook and of questionable dedication to his craft.
If you ask the average fan, now is not the time to ramp up the bragging. But that isn't going to stop Johnson.
"I’m going back to my normal ways,” Johnson said. “My normal ways, when I was at my best, when I got fined, look at the production those years. Usually things don’t go right when you try to change the way you do things. I’m back to normal."
Johnson must go back to producing closer to his previous Pro Bowl levels or dial the bravado down, or fans and coaches alike will quickly tire of his definition of 'normal'.
Johnson's one-year deal is not-guaranteed, so he will not be in a Dolphins' uniform very long if he doesn't show he can contribute nor will he be able to afford the league fines he apparently plans on getting. At age 34, his career will not survive another squandered opportunity.
Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily