“Coach Saban changed my mindset tremendously”
NFL Veteran Rashad Johnson: ‘Coach Saban changed my mindset tremendously’
April 21, 2016
Article written by: Mark Inabinett, AL.com
“Coach Saban came in and changed my mindset tremendously,” Johnson said during an appearance on “The Johnny ‘Ballpark’ Franks Show” on WNSR-AM 560 in Nashville on Tuesday. “I actually had just moved over to safety the year before he got there. He just began to teach me the little things about playing the position, to be able to recognize plays before they happen — which has become kind of like my forte — to be able to understand how offenses are trying to attack me based on the formations they give you, the motions they give you.
“But I think the most important thing he gave me was understanding that there’s always a process to it all. Each and every day, you can get better. There’s something that you can improve on every day no matter what level you’re at. And that’s something that I’ve carried over into my career and that’s been a huge part of allowing me to be able to be where I’m at. Each and every day, we work hard. I treat each and every practice like a game, so on Sundays it’s not as hard.”
One thing that Saban didn’t need to give Johnson was determination. Johnson started his collegiate career as a walk-on running back from Sulligent High School and ended it as a two-time Alabama team captain and an All-American safety.
“It was a tough time period coming out of high school, going into college because I didn’t get any big-time college offers — only Division II offers and those were partial scholarships,” Johnson said. “I was fortunate enough that my parents allowed me to step out on my dream, on what I wanted to do. And I just chased it. It was an interesting transition from being a walk-on and having to go through the stages of being a walk-on, but I just kept my faith. I’ve always been a man of God, always been a faithful man that understands there’s going to be trials, there’s going to be hard times, but there’s always victory on the other side of it. So I just continued to endure. I just continued to push forward and did what I knew was right.”
Arizona selected Johnson in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and he’d spent his entire pro career with the Cardinals until signing a one-year contract with Tennessee as a free agent in March.
Safety Rashad Johnson wanted to be “a Cardinal for life.” Instead, the former Alabama standout signed as a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans as a free agent last week.
The Titans have missed the playoffs for seven straight seasons and have won five games in the past two years. But Johnson thinks he’s joining Tennessee at just the right time.
“I think that’s kind of been my story — to be a part of teams that are on the brink of doing something special, being a good team,” Johnson said. “Kind of like at Alabama. Things weren’t great early in my career. I was able to help turn things around, and we ended my senior year at 12-2 — kind of like the foundation that started all the national championships. And then in Arizona, we weren’t good early in my career, and I was able to be a part of the turnaround there — making it to the NFC championship last year.”
In Johnson’s sophomore and junior seasons, Alabama had a cumulative record of 13-13. In his first four seasons with Arizona, the Cardinals went 28-36. In the past three seasons, the Cards had a combined mark of 34-14.
Tennessee used the second pick in last year’s NFL Draft on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and held the first pick in this year’s draft until trading it to the Los Angeles Rams. Giving up the No. 1 position netted Tennessee extra draft choices, and the Titans hold six picks in the first 76 selections in next week’s draft.
The Tennessee Titans parlayed the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft into six selections in the first 76 choices through a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
The previous team to draft at least six times in the first 76 choices was the Dallas Cowboys in 1991. Dallas, which had missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, went to the postseason in 1991 and won the Super Bowl for the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons.
The Titans started their offseason program for 2016 on Monday.