The hours are ticking down and it’s almost time to report to training camp for veterans, rookies and camp invites to make an impression on coaches that are looking to fill out the roster for the 2019 edition of the Dallas Cowboys.
For Jon’Vea Johnson, one of the undrafted free agents the Cowboys signed after the NFL draft, he is well aware that every rep and all of the drills he participates in are important to catching the coaching staff’s eye.
Johnson was a standout wide receiver at the University of Toledo, but he is cognizant that in order to fulfill his dream of making the NFL, that he must take his game to the next level.
Johnson has been doing a mix of on the field work and studying other defensive backs styles to better prepare himself for when the on the field battles begin. He is putting in the extra study hours to try to gain an advantage and set himself up for success when given the opportunity.
“One area that I have been paying attention to is man coverage from the defensive backs and looking at film of the top performing defensive backs,” Johnson said. “When I have to go up against these players, I have to learn and know how to manipulate them on an out route. Also, gaining more knowledge about route recognition and making sure I’m ready when the opportunity presents itself during a game.”
This season the Cowboys have promoted Kellen Moore to offensive co-coordinator and Johnson has noticed some similarities between the Cowboys new playbook with his college offense.
“While at Toledo, we would spread the field and open things up,” Johnson said. “I found during our off season training sessions (OTAs), Coach Moore was doing a great job of getting the ball in our playmakers hands and we were taking some shots down the field.”
When you are in a battle for a roster spot, as Johnson is, he is not shy about getting involved on special teams to help his bid to make the Cowboys.
During punts and kick-offs Johnson has been working as a flyer, which involves running down the sideline very quickly to tackle the kickoff or punt returner. Or force the returner to make a fair catch.
“I mentioned to special teams coach, Keith O’Quinn, that I am willing to play on special teams,” Johnson said. “I suggested to put me in a position to just let me run out there and I have participated in some drills, as a flyer or gunner during drills. I have also returned a few punts too during drills.”