December 6, 2021

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

Buffalo Bills Taron Johnson is becoming a top nickel cornerback in NFL

ORCHARD PARK – It was almost exactly one year ago to the day when the career of Buffalo Bills nickel cornerback Taron Johnson reached its first critical juncture.

The fourth-round draft pick in 2018 had given the Bills two promising seasons, but his inability to stay healthy – he missed nine full games plus parts of several others – cast a shadow of doubt on his viability moving forward.

And then when he got off to such a poor start in 2020, the Bills began to think they were going to have to move in a different direction at a position that, in today’s NFL, is essentially a starting job.

According to Pro Football Focus, in the first five games last year Johnson allowed 27 pass completions on 34 attempts into his coverage responsibility, a 79.4 completion percentage, and those plays totaled 306 yards.

Washington running back Antonio Gibson is tackled by Buffalo's Taron Johnson.

So coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier made the decision before the Bills hosted the Chiefs on Oct. 19 to bench Johnson and go with Cam Lewis at the nickel spot.

“Oh yeah, I do; I mean it was tough,” Johnson said Thursday when I asked him if he ever thinks back to that night when he began the game on the sideline. “Tough for anybody to go through that but you know, just stay true to myself and trust in God and everything worked out.”

As fate would have it, Lewis played only 10 snaps before getting hurt, forcing Johnson back onto the field from where he hardly came off the rest of the season.

Johnson made a stunning turnaround starting that night in the loss to the Chiefs and he would go on to make two of the biggest plays of the year – his 51-yard pick-six that helped the Bills beat the Steelers in the regular season, and then his 101-yard pick-six in the divisional round playoff victory over the Ravens that will go down as one of the greatest plays in franchise history.

Source News