A lot is riding on what rookie safety Rashad Johnson can do here at the end of his first season. The third-round pick is the guy who has to step in for veteran Matt Ware when the Cards go to three safeties (veteran cornerback Ralph Brown has played there some as well) now that Ware is done for the season. And there are still raw parts of Johnson’s game, and you can see it both in practice — where he has heard from coaches many times for his mistakes — and games — after he took a bad angle to a tackle in San Francisco that allowed Michael Crabtree to get a first down after Crabtree had fallen on a catch.
Going forward, the Cards have big decisions to work with current starting free safety Antrel Rolle (scheduled for an $8.1 million salary for 2010 and a cap number of $13.7 million, and that’s without a possible escalator) and Johnson, I would guess, is the safety net (no pun intended) if something isn’t worked out.
We’ll see if Johnson can come through. It’s been bumpy so far. “I knew there would be some tough times,” Johnson admitted.
Johnson, who was supposed to make an immediate impact on special teams, found himself inactive six times in seven weeks before getting back on the field for Minnesota and San Francisco. It wasn’t by accident.
“You are always to a degree unsure about rookies,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The thing that has helped Rashad is he was up and then he was demoted because he didn’t play well. He was inactive for a couple of games and I think when that happens it wakes you up a little bit, creates a sense of urgency as far as how you have to prepare. He has gotten better. I didn’t see that earlier in the season.”
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Matt Ware, Rashad Johnson
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