Besides different intensity, players will continue to work to learn new schemes in the camp. However, Johnson does not believe the defense’s style will change his approach or his execution. He knows new defensive coordinator Alan Williams will be called on different plays and readings may vary, but for Johnson, “Defense is Defense.”
During two seasons in the league, Johnson has shown that he can fulfill his role as a major player in the NFL. In his rookie year, Johnson scored 44 tackles in 13 games before cutting his season short with injury. His 15 passes are tied for ninth in the league. During his sophomore season, Johnson combined 46 tackles and nine breakout passes while recording his first career interception and forced confusion.
Johnson’s third year success will begin with a different level of mental toughness over the next few weeks. The heightened sense of responsibility combined with the physical intensity that Eberflus wants in camp will not mimic any off-season training that any of the players have been involved in.
“I mean, it’s not going to be easy,” Johnson said. “I feel like it’s hard to prepare for it.” “I mean, I don’t care how much you’ve run in the off-season…you’re not going to mimic your running routes, you’re blocking, you’re blocking, you’re on the ground, you’re doing the tackles, you have to get off the blocks. You just can’t get that kind of look in the off-season. I mean, really. It’s going to be a battle of mind to keep pushing it and challenging your body every single day and then really take care of your body when you have some time Not putting the wrong things in your body Not getting enough sleep I mean it’s really more mental in being prepared and fighting just that [discomfort] This will definitely come.”
Creating that challenging environment during camp is only part of achieving success. Convincing each player to get involved and help redefine the culture in the Bears locker room will be just as important.
That starts with how the standards are set before the season. While Johnson said the standards haven’t necessarily been raised by the new hires, he feels the standards are very different from last season.
“It’s hard to say, ‘They raised it,'” he said, “but they come in and re-establish a different culture, and re-establish a different foundation, a different way of doing things, a different way of moving.” “Then I feel that once we have that organization, that organization as a team, the leaders are dictating that, and then I feel like we can really take that step to really elevate them. But I really feel it starts with the organization and establishing what they want us to do as a leader, and Justin (Jones) Here too, as a leader, he establishes their foundation and urges them to buy. And I would say to raise that level.”