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Jets Pass Rusher Jermaine Johnson Wants to Exceed Expectations

Former First-Round Pick 'Looking Forward' to Learning from All-Pro Haason Reddick


Despite coming off his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2023, the word "complacency" does not appear to be in the lexicon of pass rusher Jermaine Johnson. The Jets standout defender is back at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for few weeks now training and has made being better in Year 3 of his NFL career the top priority.

"All the success in the world is leased and rented, it's never owned," Johnson said. "You can enjoy the little accolades or success you have, but if you don't grind and bust your butt and go to work again and again and again, you're going to lose it. It's going to get repo-ed, so to say. So just understanding, OK, cool, I had a decent year, not to my standard for myself, so I know I've just got to go back to work and work even harder and just keep a level head. Keep the highs not too high, the lows not too low, and keep having confidence in myself and showing up for my teammates."

Johnson enjoyed a successful 2023 campaign with a career-high 7.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. And as a unit, the Jets' defense held up its end, allowing the third-fewest yards in the NFL (292.2 per game) and just 20.8 points per game. Johnson's drive, however, to be better in 2024, goes for the entire group.

"We know as a unit on defense that we had a standard we had to uphold that we set for ourselves, and that's zero points on the board," Johnson said. "So, I mean, we didn't get that done, and so until that's done, every single game, zero points on the board, we're not satisfied, and to be quite honest, we probably still won't be."

And Johnson won't have to do it alone. This offseason, the Jets bolstered their defensive line in free agency while a pair of veteran rushers moved on.

In April, GM Joe Douglas sent a conditional 2026 third-round pick to the Eagles for All-Pro pass rusher Haason Reddick. Prior to the trade, defensive end Bryce Huff signed with Philadelphia. Then on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Jets sent DE John Franklin-Myers to the Broncos for a sixth rounder.

See Breece Hall, Quinnen Williams, Jermaine Johnson and the Jets on the field during Phase 2 of the voluntary offseason program.

With the addition of Reddick, the Jets now have three Pro Bowlers – Johnson and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams – in their D-line room.

"When we've got a player, an electric and legendary, in my opinion, player like Haason, you can't help but get better," Johnson said. "I'm excited to get out there, work with him, learn from him, I know he's got so many nuggets of information and knowledge he can share with me, and kind of just show me things that I don't know. He's so level and so humble, and I'm just excited to have a guy like that on the other side from me."

In 2023, the team was under the microscope from the outset of the of offseason with arrival of future of Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers in late April and the presence of the Max documentary series "Hard Knocks" during training camp.

Following another successful offseason in which the Jets added multiple All-Pros including Reddick and LT Tyron Smith, Johnson expects the lights to be bright again.

"I mean, it's a lot of excitement, but the goal never changes," he said. "In order for us to get to a Super Bowl, we have to go 1-0 every single week. The defense's goal has to be to pitch a shutout every single week, and so that's where we're keeping our heads right now, and the goal is that if you do that enough times, we're in the big one."

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