Johnson Needs To Make Name Known
September 15 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers would like nothing more than to have second year tight end Eric Johnson to really step up this week. Johnson was a factor last year in the 49ers offense, and the team expects to use him much like it did Brent Jones of yesteryear. But in the first game of the season, Johnson was rarely saw the ball come his way.
As the 49ers try and take some of the focus off of Terrell Owens, the team should look to Eric Johnson to make a difference in their offense. Johnson against most linebackers is often a mismatch in coverage, and one that the 49ers should be exploiting. He will however have his hands full against a very quick Bronco linebacking core.
The 49ers want the league to have to game plan to stop Johnson. They want his name known throughout the NFL as a threat. If he materializes as a threat opposite Owens, he like Jamie Winborn before him may have his name mis-pronounced by a veteran of the league.
As a former Ivy League student, Johnson is one of only 19 players to make the NFL from such a college institute. Even more impressive, is that of those 19, Johnson is among 7 that have become starters in the league. Johnson is one of three current NFL players from Yale. The others, Chris Hetherington (Rams), and Than Merrill (Bears) are proof of how rare a commodity Ivy League students are in the NFL.