Quentin Johnston, a new football player, has only been on the field for a short time in the first three NFL games. But this Sunday, when the game is in Los Angeles against the Las Vegas Raiders, he is going to play a lot more.
“I am still getting used to how much I’ll be playing in the games,” Johnston said to NFL.com while in the locker room on Friday. “It has been enjoyable. I cannot wait for Sunday… “I am really excited! I am trying to stay focused and not get too carried away, but I’m definitely very excited!”
The 22-year-old will get to play more now because Mike Williams got hurt and cannot play for the rest of the season after he hurt his knee in Week 3. Johnston did not want this chance to come because of someone getting hurt, but he knows it is his time to show everyone what he can do as a first-round pick.
Johnston was highly touted as an NFL prospect during his senior year at TCU, with 60 catches for 1,069 yards as well as six touchdowns, helping the Horned Frogs reach the 2023 CFP National Championship Game. His breakout season led the Chargers to select him with the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“I thought he was better today than he is ever been,” Keenan Allen said of Johnston’s workout in the locker room Wednesday. “Because at the end of the day, when it becomes a matter of life and death, that is when you leave. When Mike was here, I could make mistakes, and I could do this and that. But now that’s not the case anymore.” There’s a bit of urgency.
Johnston has only had the ball thrown to him eight times this season. Usually, they throw the ball to him in short passes. The farthest he caught the ball and ran was 11 yards, but he was able to help the team move forward on two of those plays.
It’s Not Just Quentin Who’s Important
Johnston will not exactly take over for Williams completely because, according to Allen, that’s not really possible. Williams has been playing for seven years and has been excellent at catching long passes, averaging about 15.6 yards each time he catches the ball.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Johnston has a similar physical presence to Williams and has played 75% of his snaps on the wing this season, according to Next Gen Stats.
However, the Chargers rotate receivers in different orientations more regularly in Kellen Moore’s offensive system, with Williams playing on the perimeter 68% of the time (31% in the slot) and Allen taking the snaps. 37% of his time was spent outside the perimeter (52%). %). (in the slot), Josh Palmer was on the outside 68% of the time (27% in the slot).
They may ask Johnston to rotate more and line up inside to keep pace with the Chargers’ efficient offense, which ranks second in the NFL with 416.7 yards per game.
The coach of the Chargers, Brandon Staley, mentioned on Friday, ‘It is not just Quentin who’s important. Our whole team needs to play well, especially Quentin, who is very good. We are looking forward to seeing him do his best and help the team.’
Johnston said he feels prepared to take on more responsibility because he supports people like Williams and Allen, who have a combined 18 years of experience. Johnston is grateful to have learned the ins and outs of the professional game from the 28-year-old and hopes to replace him in the right way.
“How to stay calm in game situations,” Johnston said of what he learned from Williams. “It seems kind of silly because I have been through college and all that stuff. You do not really think it is going to make a huge difference, but really, all the things that come with it. Makes a big difference.”
Johnston also Feels He Would Benefit from Learning.
Not just on the field but off the field as well. A way to get out of the way and not get too involved. On the field, he is one of the best players when it comes to running routes when attacking the ball or attacking in the air.
I have actually been going back and forth with him on that and watching him on the field and in meetings. It is always back and forth. Even something as trivial as that. ”
Johnston also feels he would benefit from learning from third-year receiver Palmer, who was relied on heavily last season after two veteran receivers were sidelined with injuries. Palmer is also expected to play a bigger role without Williams and is ready to step up after proving himself a year ago, but that does not change his weekly preparation.
“Since he was a newcomer to the team, Quentin Johnston always worked hard as if he is the most important player,” Palmer mentioned. “Even though I am taking over for Keenan’s position, it does not mean I will change how I act or work. Keenan is like a big brother to me, always supporting me. It will not be like before when I had to do everything alone. We work together as a team, and now that Mike cannot play, everyone has to work extra hard to make up for it.”
Since Justin Herbert is leading as the quarterback, Palmer is sure the team will keep doing well in the game. “We are unstoppable,” he said. “Anyone can take a step back, but we know we can be unstoppable because of how much faith we have in our other players.
It is really sad that Mike can’t play anymore. He always makes nice plays. But we have great coaches and a strong team, so we will get back up and do well.”
“The Chargers are playing against the Raiders this Sunday at SoFi Stadium. It is an important game because it is the first time this season they are playing against a team in their own division.”