Even when it’s from the bench Jovon Johnson gives the Roughriders his all.
The 12-year CFL veteran has found himself on the sidelines of the last two Roughriders games as head coach Chris Jones opted to rest some of his older defensive backs and try out other players in their place.
As a competitor, it doesn’t sit well with Johnson to, well, sit.
“Especially when you went through the grind with (your teammates) throughout training camp, started the season playing well and then you get replaced just because they want to get looks at guys,” Johnson said. “That’s just the way the business goes, especially when you become a veteran guy they tend to think you are replaceable.”
What’s not replaced is the experience that Johnson brings to the football team. He’s played 186 CFL games, made 562 career tackles, earned eight sacks and made 35 career interceptions.
Instead of being frustrated by his situation over the last couple of weeks, Johnson is channelling that experience into helping the rest of the defensive backs get ready for the game.
“(I’m) watching and studying a lot of film and knowing the opponent and helping the guys be able to be in a position to win. You just got to step up to the plate and be an extra set of eyes and know that you got to support the group,” Johnson said.
That’s always been a part of what Johnson does, but not being in the lineup has required him to step into that role a little more. He’s also comfortable enough with his talent and his contributions to do that because he doesn’t feel he’s on the chopping block.
“I’ve never been worried about that at all,” he said. “Being in this league for so long I think the coaches around the league know what I can do and I’m not really worried about whether I’m going to lose my job ever. I know that I’m a great player and I can continue to be great.”
It looks like Johnson will get to step back into the lineup again this week in the position he’s played with the Riders since he joined the club early in 2017.
But even if he doesn’t, expect Johnson to keep pitching in to help his teammates any way he can.
“They rely on me to be a voice in the meeting rooms, a voice on the field and an extra set of eyes for the coaches because I’ve been there and seen it all and I know what to expect.”
The Roughriders depth chart will be released on Friday where it will be officially confirmed if Johnson will play.
- The Roughriders have placed star returned Christion Jones on the six-game injured list. Head coach Chris Jones said it was precautionary, but wouldn’t say what the injury was. In the meantime, the return game will use rookie returner Kyran Moore – who ran back a special teams touchdown last week – and running back Marcus Thigpen.
- Defensive tackle Mic’hael Brooks returns to the lineup on Saturday and is expected to make a big impact in stopping Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris.