After missing six games with a quad injury in his first year with the Jets, cornerback Trumaine Johnson has redemption on his mind entering 2019.
“Alright,” said Johnson when asked to describe his first season with the Green & White. “Of course, dealing with injuries is a part of the game. I wish I could’ve been healthy for all of my games, but it’s bounce back time, so I’m ready for it.”
Reunited with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the 6’2”, 213-pounder is excited to once again play in a system he thrived in. From 2014-2016 with Williams in St.Louis/Los Angeles, Johnson recorded 164 tackles, 34 passes defenses and 11 interceptions in 37 games (32 starts). In 2015, he recorded a career-high seven interceptions and 17 PDs.
“His best years were when we were together,” Williams said of Johnson, who led the defense with four interceptions in 2018. “He's really motivated. He understands me. I understand him. It's my job to try to help him be the best he can be. He's excited. I've been excited about the work that he has put in here and even away. We're monitoring things. There's a good familiarity there. I can't wait to get going and get back in games together because he and I have had some really good moments together.”
See the Best Images of the Jets Cornerbacks
New Man at Nickel
For the first time since 2015, the Jets have a new player lining up at nickel. After electing not to re-sign Buster Skrine, the Green & White brought in former Falcons CB Brian Poole to man the slot in 2019.
“I just thought it was the best place for me,” Poole said of his career decision. “It’s a young secondary, talented and I feel like I can come here and help out a lot.”
In 47 games (21 starts) with Atlanta, the 5’10”, 211-pounder totaled 195 tackles, 19 PDs, four interceptions and five sacks. An aggressive, physical player, the 26-year-old Poole has embraced Williams’ mindset.
“The transition has been pretty smooth for me,” the fourth-year veteran said. “I like Gregg’s system a lot. I feel like it fits my game well.”
As the roster stands, Darryl Roberts, who is in his fourth year with the Green & White after re-signing in the offseason, is slated to start opposite Johnson. Outside of Johnson, Roberts and Poole, the Jets have nine CBs on their roster, none who have more than three years of NFL experience and have combined for 34 game appearances and three starts. But Gase said the team will create more competition in the room before the season begins and new general manager Joe Douglas acquired a pair of corners in his first two days with the team.
“That's why the pro department has to do a great job going through (players),” Gase said. “When we get closer to those cuts and training camp, just keeping their eyes open. Then, you always have to be alert if any trades pop up. I mean you just never know the amount of phone calls that go in and out between organizations. It's a lot more than what people realize sometimes and we just have to be ready to be aggressive if we need to be.”