Young Bucs WR Opens up on Presence of All-Pro Julio Jones

Julio Jones

Getty Julio Jones and Tyler Johnson at Buccaneers training camp.

Tamp Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Tyler Johnson is entering the third year of his career; all spent with the greatest quarterback to ever play the game in Tom Brady.

As if having Brady and four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans as offensive weapons in Tampa wasn’t enough, the Buccaneers recently added All-Pro receiver Julio Jones to their arsenal.

Johnson is like a kid in a candy shop.

Johnson, who was 13 when Jones first entered the league as the Atlanta Falcons‘ first pick in the 2008 NFL draft, has called the experience “amazing.”

“Just being around somebody like that, someone that I grew up watching destroy the game for real,” he told reporters. “It’s amazing to have him in the room to be able to learn from him, watch him play, run routes.”

It’s easy for Johnson to see how Jones has performed at such a high level for most of his career.

“He’s quick, explosive, strong — everything that you could build in a receiver that you would want,” Johnson said. “You got the height, you got the size. It’s amazing to see what he does and how he does it to get open. When the ball’s in the air, you can see him wanting to attack the ball. Those are the things I’ve been able to learn from him since he’s been around.”

The subject of trade rumors this offseason, Johnson played in all 19 games (regular and postseason) and compiled 436 yards on 68 targets.

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Here a GOAT, There a GOAT

Julio Jones added another dimension to the already stout Buccaneers’ receiving corps. And the defensive backs are all the better for it.

“Our wide receiver room is crazy,” Bucs safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. told reporters. “Not gonna lie… You’ve got goats everywhere, especially in that receiver room; it’s ridiculous.”

Winfield said that going up against a corp of receivers that include Mike Evans and Julio Jones is making him a better defender. “All those guys are great to go up against in camp,” he said. “Going up against them every day makes us compete and makes us work hard.”

Of course, defending the goats of all goats in Tom Brady makes Winfield better, too.

“He’s the goat, man, so all the work it gives him ultimately, at the end of the day, helps my game. But still the same Tom, still the same legend. At 45, still throwing around like that, it’s crazy.”

Crowded House in Tampa

It’s a crowded room in Tampa Bay with Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage (another former Falcon) atop the Bucs depth chart.

Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles has a lot of players to evaluate, but he likes what he’s seen from Johnson so far in camp. “I just know he’s in very good shape, and he’s been doing all the right things,” Bowles told reporters on the first day of padded practice.

In the dozen-plus receivers on the Bucs’ pre-cutdowns depth chart, Tyler Johnson knows he has command over one person: Himself.

“My mindset’s just been control what I can control; knowing that we’ve got a big group in the receiving room,” Johnson said. “I’ve just gotta take advantage of the opportunity that comes my way. When the ball’s headed towards me, I’m just looking forward to making a play.

You can’t look forward or down the line. You’ve just gotta stay in the moment.”


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