Shurmur: James-Michael Johnson Might Start for Fujita

Getting any kind of commitment from an NFL head coach prior to roster cutdowns is a miracle. This is not to criticize Pat Shurmur. There is a lot of football and a lot of moving pieces between now and the opening week against the Philadelphia Eagles. One piece that won’t be moving is Scott Fujita serving his suspension. One of the biggest questions the Browns needed to answer this training camp – even before Chris Gocong’s injury – was who would start in Fujita’s place during his three game suspension. According to Pat Shurmur today, it seems like James-Michael Johnson is on track.

(On if James-Michael Johnson is ready to start at linebacker if they don’t have Scott Fujita)- “I think the production that he has given us in the games so far points to the fact that he may be a starter for us this year. He has a chance. Again, I don’t want to make any proclamations at this point, but I think he will continue to improve as well. I said it after the game, but I thought that young linebacking core did an outstanding job against Green Bay.”

(On Johnson has progressed through training camp)- “He’s getting better. I think you see his run fits are better. He matches up better in coverage. He runs to the ball extremely well. I think as he dives in on the match-ups of the team we’re playing, and can pick up little pointers as to whether it’s run-pass, or where they’re going with the football, he’ll even be better.”

Johnson looked good and active in the game against Green Bay. It’s just a pre-season game, but that’s great news for the Browns and Browns fans. It sure beats the alternative. Plus, if it translates well into the regular season, it would be quite a score to get such quick value from a 4th round draft pick (120th overall) in his first season in the league.

[Related: Browns Veterans Return, Continue to Praise the Kids]

  • DontbringLBJback

    Sean Merriman was just cut by the Bills. Seems like he’d be a solid pick up. I know the guy is a head case, and maybe too much trouble in the locker room… although, I didn’t hear about any craziness last year with the Bills, and he played very solid for them.

  • mgbode

    he played in 5 games had 1 sack and 7 tackles. he is fodder at this point in his career as injuries have sapped him dry (or not taking PEDs has ruined him).

    his last good year was in 2007. you know, the year the Indians had CC, good-Fausto, and Cliff Lee. Grady Sizemore and Pronk were healthy. The Cavs were the underdogs and beat the Pistons. Browns were making miraculous run with Derek Anderson, etc.

  • DontbringLBJback

    He’s been pretty much riddled with injuries the past 5 years…. that’s for sure. But why not bring him in and see if he’s actually healthy for once? He claims to be in the best shape of his life. Plus, BUF had him playing DE which is not his natural position. Can’t hurt to take a look.

  • Garry_Owen

    Considering the things that you mentioned (head case, too much trouble in the locker room), I believe that it could hurt – particularly on balance with the limited potential he would bring. I’d pass.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Well, like I said… I didn’t hear about any of that nonsense last year, so maybe he’s matured, or maybe it was the HGH that made him that way. But here’s the thing. We need more depth at the very least at LB. And I know a guy named D’Qell Jackson that was hurt 2 years in a row, and came back to have an ALL PRO year last year (some had written DJax off as DONE). At one time, this kid was the best LB in the game. He was feared. I would give him a look. Just my opinion.

  • mgbode

    2yrs ain’t 5.
    the Bills apparently don’t think he has anything in the tank.
    Merriman was not a 4-3 LBer (3-4 OLB)

  • DontbringLBJback

    I know he was in a 3-4, but Jauron’s 4-3 is a hybrid 3-4. We always line up 4 guys on the line, and 3 backers… so I don’t know how they call it a 4-3… but whatever.

    I’m gonna predict that Merriman goes somewhere… and starts… and makes a difference. We’ll see.

  • DontbringLBJback
  • DontbringLBJback

    Looks like the Ravens are bringing Merriman in for a look. That’s just peachy.