Last season De’Andre Johnson thrived in a quarterback timeshare with former teammate Luis Perez for the New Jersey Generals. It seems that this year is his chance to take over the job full time and truly let loose.
It can be difficult for any quarterback to be subbed in and out, especially every other play at times. It is arguably the most important position in sports, and it requires getting into a rhythm to hit your full potential. There were times last season when Johnson played for extended periods of time and during those times, he excelled.
In a Week 3 win against the Philadelphia Stars, DJ played the entire second half. Two weeks later against the New Orleans Breakers, he played from start to finish in another convincing victory. The following week after it seemed he had taken to job over, he played every snap again until injuring his ankle, against the Houston Gamblers in the first quarter. After this injury he never seemed the same, even when he came back a few weeks later. Head Coach Mike Riley went back to the two-quarterback system from that point on.
In those seven quarters where he played without being subbed out, Johnson went 22 of 29 (76%) for 378 passing yards with a touchdown and just one interception. He also added a ton with his legs rushing 19 times for 116 rushing yards (6.1 YPC) and three touchdowns. He led the Generals offense to 55 points during those seven quarters which is nearly a two-game sample size. By that logic, Johnson helped bolster an offense to average 27.5 points per game during that ‘two game span’.
The Generals also need to open up the complete playbook for Johnson during year two when quarterbacks get even more comfortable in a system. Last year it seemed like they limited his throwing opportunities at times, but he can make every throw on the field, along with being such a gifted runner. Keeping with that two-game sample size, Johnson would’ve finished second in the USFL with 1,890 passing yards only behind Jordan Ta’amu at that pace. This alone showcases just how dynamic he is with his arm. Still, outside of KaVontae Turpin, De’Andre Johnson was New Jersey’s most dynamic offensive weapon and now he’s their number one with Turp in the NFL.
With Luis Perez now in the XFL with the Vegas Vipers and the Generals cutting newly signed quarterback Daquan Neal, only Kyle Lauletta is competing with Johnson now. The USFL has implemented a rule similar to the old NFL rule of having to carry three quarterbacks, something the XFL has also adopted. So, we do expect one more face to join the New Jersey Generals quarterback room before the season. Despite this, it does appear that Coach Riley and Offensive Coordinator Steve Smith have handed over the reins to Johnson full time and it is his time to capitalize and lead his Generals.
How do you think the New Jersey Generals will do in USFL season 2? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.