Recently acquired San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Stevie Johnson has been making the media rounds lately, discussing his new team, and what he brings to the table. He has had a couple conversations with 49ers.com (Video, Article), and he also did a session with Yahoo! SportsTalk Live (auto-play video).
The common theme has been his excitement about playing for the 49ers. Johnson was born in Fairfield, California, and started his college career at Chabot College. When he first started playing football, Terrell Owens was the big weapon in San Francisco, and Johnson got into the receiver position because of that. That makes me feel a little old, I suppose.
He has been asked a few times about the 49ers current stable of wide receivers. He talked about how they are all number ones. The upside to that is it can take pressure off any one receiver when there are so many versatile weapons. However, the "downside" is that receivers are likely looking at fewer targets.
Even if the 49ers spread out the offense more this season (certainly not a sure thing), if the receiver corps is healthy, you're looking at a group that includes Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Vernon Davis, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Bruce Miller, Vance McDonald, and maybe more. That's a lot of bodies looking for passes.
Fortunately, Stevie Johnson recognizes that he is coming to a good situation, and seems ready to handle it. He told Yahoo! SportsTalk Live:
I’m very prepared for that. I’ve been through some very tough seasons out in Buffalo where I felt like I put everything on the line, even playing through injury, feeling like I have to do everything. I’m not trying to talk down anybody in Buffalo, but being here in San Francisco you’ve got guys that have production. If I don’t get the ball, oh well, I know that someone else is going to be ballin’ out, you know like Crab or Anquan or Vernon. Or even Frank. I’m willing to take that role and be a blocker or be a decoy. I’m cool with that.
It's way too early to tell what changes we may or may not see when the offense takes the field this fall. Ideally we see things spread out a little bit more, but until we see it, I'm not holding my breath for too many drastic changes. If the entire group is on the field Week 1, we'll see quite the complement of options for the passing game. Last year ended up more of a hodge podge than most of us expected due to Michael Crabtree's injury. This year, fingers crossed, we could see as deep a receiving corps as anybody has in the NFL. I don't know that we'll see some crazy spread assault, but I have to think we'll see a little more mixed in.