Josh Johnson embracing competition for QB2, reflects on experience
Josh Johnson, like Johnny Cash, has been everywhere, man. Johnson has been part of nearly 20 pro clubs since being selected in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of San Diego.
Johnson joined the Denver Broncos in March and is competing for the spot behind Russell Wilson with Brett Rypien. Johnson seems to be leading the competition for the backup quarterback job. And while he hadn’t played a snap in the NFL during the 2019 and 2020 seasons after not taking a snap in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017—he had a great 2021 as a backup. Johnson made four appearances playing for the Jets and Ravens and got one start.
Of Johnson’s four games, he threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns twice. The performances from the 36-year-old are somewhat outliers, but the Broncos haven’t had more than two 300-yard passing games in a season since 2016.
“The XFL helped me find my game,” Johnson told 104.3 The Fan, spending a season in the AAF and then XFL. “Once I got back in the NFL, making good impressions in San Francisco led me to New York and that to Baltimore. I just started embracing what I went through. When free agency came, I wasn’t really upset because now I was wanted. So I just kind of always looked at the positive side of it. And I just focused on that.”
Johnson is a very different option for the Broncos than Rypien, who is 26 and has only been a Denver Bronco as a pro. He joined the club in 2019 as an undrafted free agent.
“The journey has prepared me for this coming from Oakland; I wasn’t recruited nonscholarship school; I went to the University of San Diego,” Johnson said. “But when you look at the positive side of that, who’s my coach? Jim Harbaugh”
Johnson talked about working with him, David Shaw, Jon Gruden, Jeff Garcia, and Brian Griese.
“I just soaked up knowledge because they taught me what the NFL was like because some of them were Hall of Famers,” Johnson said. “Then when I got outside of football, I just had to find creative ways to get better.”
Johnson went in-depth on his career in his interview on 104.3 The Fan’s Stokley and Zach.
“Just trying to be my best self every day. This is a healthy competition we got going on here because all three of us make each other better,” Johnson said. “We all know Russ is the starter and he’s earned that right. His career is tremendous. Ryp and me, it’s every day we make each other better; iron sharpens iron. If we want to be who we want to be as a team we have to be embrace competition, we are in the most competitive division in football and the schedule is gonna be tough.”