NY Times On Stevie Johnson: "Exquisite Fundamentals"

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21: Steve Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills runs for a touchdown during NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bills won 49-21. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Matt linked to it this morning, but I wanted to highlight the New York Times article that took a look back at the 2010 Buffalo Bills via film review. Specifically, I wanted to talk about their breakdown of perhaps the Bills' most explosive offensive weapon, wide receiver Stevie Johnson.

"The third-year receiver Stevie Johnson, Buffalo’s only consistent target, produced because of exquisite fundamentals," writes Andy Benoit. "But he did not cause any matchup problems."

First, it's nice to see that Stevie is getting recognized for his greatest asset: his route-running ability. Athletically, Johnson is fairly ordinary; he's plenty athletic, but not the explosive athlete with game-breaking speed that higher-drafted wideouts are. Johnson is better than most of them because he necessarily works harder at his craft. There's more he can accomplish technically, but he really is a terrific route-runner.

I'd also question the idea that Johnson doesn't cause "any" matchup problems. It's an argument of semantics, and I get the sentiment - Stevie's not (yet) going to command constant attention everywhere on the field. But in brief appearances in 2008, his rookie season, and then again last year, Johnson proved that he is a matchup nightmare in the red zone, where he has the size to go up for the ball and the shiftiness to create separation with ease. He's a very tough guy to defend down close.

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