Young safety John Johnson III had been one of the more notable losses for the Los Angeles Rams after his 2019 NFL season was cut short by a shoulder injury.
Johnson had been in the midst of another stellar start to the year until he was placed on injured reserve heading into Week 7. His absence left a huge void in a Rams secondary that would later experience some significant turnover prior to the trade deadline.
Suffering such a major injury and being forced to watch this team struggle en route to missing the playoffs was hardly ideal for Johnson. Fortunately, it seems he managed to find the silver lining in a frustrating 2019 campaign.
Johnson feels that watching from the sidelines provided him with a different perspective on how the game is played, via Sarina Morales of the team’s official website:
I don’t think about myself. I think I learned a lot about the game just watching, seeing opportunities that you don’t normally see, being out there. This is the first time I actually like was down. When I got hurt, it wasn’t that I was hurt, I just didn’t have anything to do when I got home from rehab, even before the surgery. It was just weird to not have structure in my life.
It is certainly encouraging to see that Johnson was able to turn a negative situation into one that could potentially set the stage for a big comeback in the 2020 NFL season.
The former third-round pick proved to be quite the steal by emerging as an immediate contributor on defense and being promoted to starter during his rookie year. He managed to kick things up a notch in the 2018 campaign and was considered to be one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs after registering 119 tackles, four interceptions, and a forced fumble.
Los Angeles experimented quite a bit with their secondary this season after parting ways with cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters in order to make room for Jalen Ramsey. Meanwhile, the hype surrounding safety Eric Weddle‘s arrival was short-lived following an underwhelming year that has left his future with the team uncertain.
One of Weddle’s biggest concerns is being relegated to a reserve role due to the talented safety pairing of Johnson and Taylor Rapp. Regardless, having a surplus of starter talent over the top is a good problem to have as the Rams brass gets set to make some crucial decisions in the offseason.