Josh Johnson: "This Is Like Going To Disneyland Every Day For Me"

Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson spoke to the media after Wednesday's practice at the Inova Sports Performance Center.

On his experience across the league:

"It has helped because I’ve been around a lot of different quarterbacks, a couple Super Bowl quarterbacks, a Hall of Fame quarterback, first-round picks, fifth-round picks. I’ve experienced coaching from numerous coaches and you pick up on some common traits. You pick up on different things where you can apply it when necessary whether it is preparation, performance, mental stability. Everything becomes a full circle, so it’s getting me ready for Sunday."

On the difficulty of maintaining confidence:

"Not hard, it’s not really hard for me because at the end of the day, I’ll always reflect back on reality for myself. Growing up in Oakland, California, I understand the real struggle. I understand the mentality that we tend to have in the inner city. For me, not only am I setting an example of what resilience is, I can’t tell a younger kid, I can’t tell my own kid how important it is to keep their mind on something if my actions don’t reflect that. They kind of hold me accountable as well when I interact with the youth because it’s important for me to practice what I preach."

On staying mentally sharp when not on an NFL roster:

"I could watch football. I’ve got old film that I study at home. One thing one of my coaches taught me, ironically it was Jay [Gruden]’s brother, when I first got in the league was to keep a manual on coaches, keep a manual on how the league is moving and just always stay updated. I kind of did that whether it be with footwork or whether it be with anything. So, even when I’m at home and I’m working out with the younger kids I’m putting them in situations that I want to experience out here. It may not be that exact same thing, they don’t even know what they’re doing some of the time but they’re learning. But it’s also helping me if I ever get put in this position and by the grace of God I’m here dealing with this opportunity."

On the speed of the game against the New York Giants:

"It felt like football. There are going to be some things that you don’t expect and there are going to be some things that you can do better, but at the end of the day, it kind of felt like football."

On the familiarity of head coach Jay Gruden’s system:

"It’s helped me a lot because, ironically, Jay yelled at me enough out there to where it kind of stuck in my head on certain things on how he wants things done. Stepping back in here has kind of eased my way through the little things a little bit better. There are some things that have changed, but again my journey has put me in so many different systems I’ve learned a huge amount of football from a lot of great football minds. It’s just kind of re-learning another language. At the end of the day, concepts are concepts. You have to really get focused on your teammates and really learn [from] those guys, that’s what kind of differentiates each team. But there are only so many plays you can run in the world."

How the NFL has changed since his last start:

"It’s a more wide open game. It’s a lot more catered to spread offenses. When I came up, I never even got into shotgun until third down in college, high school I was never in shotgun. I had to learn how to throw out a shotgun once I got in the league because the game was transforming a little bit to that. Obviously a lot of young quarterbacks’ college kind of caters to a spread offense, so really just keeping up with that and working it. Just working it any way possible, just try to be as resourceful as I can whether it is with another human being or that be with my old film, or even with a video game. Every little thing helps."

On how those changes impact his game:

"At the end of the day, I always felt like if a coach can get me to understand why I'm doing it, I have the ability to go out there and do it. I've always had that confidence in myself, it's just really now getting out there and repping it and going out there and doing it. My game is going to be my game regardless. I can't really be anybody else, so now that I have the opportunity to just play my game, it's pretty cool."

On if Coach Gruden can get him to understand why he's doing a play:

"We've worked together. We've had a good working relationship. We went to the playoffs that year in Cincinnati. I performed well in the preseason, so I always had comfortability in his system. He got a head coaching job after that, which he deserved and he's been winning since he got here, to come back and kind of experience a similar culture and being in something that I've been comfortable with before, it's kind of a blessing for me, because I don’t really have to go through the rigors of a coach trying figure me out. It's more of just figuring me in, you know?"

On the challenges from Jacksonville's defense:

"Honestly man, to me that’s the beauty of sports. As a pro athlete, as a kid, you want to be out there. I've been a backup for so long, I think you understand that having this opportunity is more special than the challenges that are ahead. I'm excited that we're playing this great defense. I'm excited that we're playing against these talented corners, this pass rush, these linebackers. It's a great test and I wouldn’t have it any other way to get an opportunity to go against somebody that you have to earn it and go out and prove that you deserve to be on this field. It’s kind of what I've been asking for, so by the grace of God, He's giving me the opportunity to prove my worth and proving your worth versus a great defense, as a competitor, what else can you ask for?"

On how his work ethic is shaped by his upbringing:

"To me, it’s just reality. One thing I've always appreciated, I mean I went to a non-scholarship school, I had to work jobs, so I didn’t get a scholarship, and nothing was ever given to me. To me, my life and what I've experienced is kind of common. We've kind of all experienced trials and tribulations in our career fields and our life trying to get ahead, wanting to get ahead, wanting to be at the top, but one thing that’s consistent is not everybody is at the top at the same time. So, you've just got to be patient, wait your turn, but if you really want it and you really love it, you're going to put in the work, so at the end of the day, when you get an opportunity, you can say I did what I was supposed to do to take care of my business. Everything I went through in Oakland is real life and that’s what a lot of people go through, so when I had an opportunity to go out here and play a game, that maybe 2,000 people get the opportunity to do, there isn’t anything to complain about. This is like going to Disney Land every day for me, for real, because just a week ago, I was at home in the hood, chilling with the kids, chilling with my family and thinking on the couch that I might never play in the NFL again. But a week later, look at me now, I'm here starting with a great opportunity to get us a victory this Sunday against Jacksonville. I'm excited about that and that’s a blessing."

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