Portis: Josh Johnson 'played himself into a role' for 2019

Chris Lingebach
December 17, 2018 - 3:23 pm
Portis: Josh Johnson 'played himself into a role' for 2019

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No one was more impressed with Josh Johnson on Sunday than Clinton Portis, who thinks the quarterback played himself into a role for next season by leading the Redskins to a win over the Jaguars.

"I thought Johnson did a great job," Portis told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan. "Me, honestly, I actually think Johnson played himself into a role as the quarterback for next season.

Johnson completed 16 of 25 passes (64 percent) for 151 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the 16-13 win, which has the Redskins back within a half game of a playoff spot following a four-game slide. In a game and a half of play since taking over for Mark Sanchez last week, Johnson has a 98.2 passer rating with two touchdowns and one interception.

Alex Smith, the Redskins' starter until he got hurt, just left the hospital one month after his initial surgery led to complications and subsequent operations. With his ability to make a full recovery in time for next season in doubt, the Redskins will likely need to turn to someone else to lead the offense in 2019. Finding that someone presents its challenges, as Washington will extremely limited financially due to Smith's contract guarantees.

"It's hard to look at this roster and say, 'Well Sanchez or Colt should be in front of him to finish out the season,'" Portis continued. "Even if Colt comes back, I think Johnson gives you more of an opportunity because of scrambling ability. If you look at the pass Johnson throws, he throws a really pretty ball. He's putting a ball in position where either his receiver catches it or no one catches it, whereas everyone else puts you in that position at, hey, this could go either way and potentially an interception. He hasn't even turned the ball over."

Johnson, a fifth-round pick in 2008, has been on 13 NFL rosters in his 11-year career and was 0-5 as a starter coming into Sunday's game. This victory, his first start in seven years, is Johnson's first as a starter.

"Myself and Santana were discussing all the opportunities that other guys get," Portis said. "When you look at Cody Kessler being on the roster, you look at a lot of these so-called 'backup quarterbacks' who had an opportunity to be in camp, that's on a roster, and then they get called onto the field, it's like they're out like a deer seeing headlights because they can't make their adjustments, or they get (gun-shy).

"Whereas you look at a guy who has nothing to lose nine days off of his couch, that comes in and he's playing for something," he said. "He's playing for an opportunity. He's playing with passion and carrying the team."

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