Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end David Johnson (85) runs after a pass reception as Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) defends during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bears won 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers New TE David Johnson Is Old School


Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end David Johnson (85) runs after a pass reception as Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) defends during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bears won 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end David Johnson spent the first 5 years of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the 7th round of the 2009 draft. He has playoff and Super Bowl experience. He is a solid 6’2″ 260 pounds, a tough kid from Arkansas. What he isn’t is Antonio Gates….

Gates has revolutionized the tight end position, turning it into almost a bigger, heavier receiver. David Johnson is old school. “I’ve always been a blocker first,” he told Chargers.com’s Rick Henne. He knows his role in this offense. Don’t look for Johnson to get 6 or 7 catches a game. Rather, look for him to get nasty down in the trenches, acting as a 6th lineman. He has appeared in 52 games and only has 22 receptions for 216 yards and 1 touchdown. He can catch the ball when needed however. At Arkansas State he did have 760 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. 

Catching passes and running over safeties into the endzone won’t be his job in 2014.  “I like doing the grunt work that most people might not notice,” he told Henne. During OTA’s he is working with the Bolts offensive line to sync up to maximize blocking efficiency. Having a tight end with a lineman’s mentality is always a plus on a team that looks to run the ball like the Chargers. 

He is healthy after battling through some injuries the past 2 seasons. This is good news for Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown. With an additional talented running back in Brown, the Chargers will pound the ball even more next year. Johnson can help with that. In fact, he loves it. The Chargers struggled a lot in the red zone last year. Having an extra 250+ pound body making running lanes when it matters the most is a great thing. He is the old school, blocking, cutting, moving, knock-your-mouthguard-out kind of player. Just what the Chargers need to have another successful season offensively.

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  • Sergio Quintero

    If they need fullback he will play the position (I doubt he ever get a carry), I actually think he has a better shot of making the roster than even John Phillips, even though I expect both to be here.

    • arnie

      I agree. Johnson could take the place of FB and still be a pass catching TE. His presence could very well create mis-matches and confusion.
      Example: Gates, Woodhead, Johnson. Green, Mathews, Johnson. Are they passing or running?

      • Sergio Quintero

        The chargers were kind of schizophrenic in their offense last year, really pass happy to start and then they became really run heavy to end the season. I believe in balance, somewhere with 45-60% pass, 6 pass first halfs with a franchise QB, drives me to bang my head against a wall, and waiting till the 4th quarter to go no huddle against the Broncos turned me damn red with anger.

        Balance and be unpredictable, with run formations throw (play action pass), in particular in the red zone I can’t remember more than 5 play action pass plays.

        They have the entire set of characters on offense, be creative, let your QB change the tempo, if he wants to go speed no huddle and throw 8 straight times its okay, if you have a lead and want to run it 25 times in the second half you can as well.

        • arnie

          I remember you saying that before and I agree. That was a true representation of Coach Whisenhunts play calling. That’s why I like Johnson to make the roster, can make the defense pay for not covering him, or can block for Woodhead on a screen pass.

          • Sergio Quintero

            Sorry for being repetitive, but I thought they took the game away from Rivers in the playoffs, I’m fully convinced if they would have hit the accelerator earlier against the Broncos they would have won that game, and I would like to see they avoid that happen again.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Good read!

  • arnie

    I think this could spell the end of carrying a FB on the roster. If the Chargers can run the ball without a FB, then why wouldn’t they add another blocker, to protect Rivers and give another passing option?