Coming into the first preseason game of the 2022 NFL season, the Buccaneers announced they were going to rest many of their starters in anticipation for the regular season. This gives players a little more playing time to show what they have before cut down day. There were plenty of standout performances and one of them included Tyler Johnson.
This big night didn’t come out of nowhere, this is how Johnson plays when he’s asked too. During the 2020 Super Bowl run, Johnson made one of the most impressive plays in franchise history. This came when he made a beautiful grab on a crucial 3rd and 11. That play ended up jump-starting the offense leading to a win vs. the Saints. Now he still finds himself fighting for a roster spot in this stacked position group.
Coming into this season, the path to playing time looks like a near impossible one. With guys like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Russell Gage on the team, the depth at wide receiver is better than ever. So Johnson needed to shine, and he did.
In the first preseason game, he recorded 26 snaps, but just 12 pass play snaps. He made due with all of his opportunities, being targeted seven times, catching six passes for 73 yards. His first catch of the night came on an easy out route on 2nd and 16 against soft coverage vs. D’Angelo Ross.
The second possession was his most impressive, it started with a 12-yard catch and run off a crossing pattern where he made four guys miss after the catch. The best catch-all night came on a 2nd and 10 where Johnson ran a fade route vs. D’Angelo Ross’ man coverage and Gabbert threw a perfect ball for a gain of 21.
Trask to Tyler
The next drive saw Kyle Trask enter the game and Johnson was still dialed in. On 2nd and 14 early in the second, he showed his fantastic run after catch ability after catching an in-breaking route and reversing field for a gain of 21 yards.
His last two catches came on the last drive of the first half, the first was a short 6-yard gain on a hook route where he was able to find the open spot in the zone. The second was an eight-yard slant caught across the middle of the field.
This night encapsulated Johnson’s journey up to this point. Whenever he touches the field, he balls out and shines. Johnson could be critical if the Buccaneers want to make another run at a Super Bowl.
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