Pay attention to Johnson

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

TORONTO - Bryan Crawford has seen too much of Jovon Johnson to not take the Winnipeg Bombers return guy for granted.

In fact, Crawford has the utmost respect for Johnson, whose prowess on special teams doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves by those who cover the CFL.

Perhaps it’s based on Johnson’s ability to cover receivers in Winnipeg’s defensive backfield or perhaps he’s overshadowed by players such as Chad Owens, Marcus Thigpen and even Larry Taylor, but Crawford knows the damage Johnson can inflict on punt returns.

All Crawford needs is to review the game film from the Argos’ loss to Winnipeg two weeks ago when Johnson returned a punt 29 yards, one of the few big plays Toronto’s cover unit has yielded this early season.

“He’s a guy who always pulls out a play late in games, it seems, when they really need it,’’ Crawford, the Argos’ special teams captain, said of Johnson. “In my opinion, Jovon is an excellent return guy. You think of guys such as Larry Taylor and Thigpen and those guys are primary returners first whereas Jovon also lines up on defence.

“When you look at Winnipeg, that (return) unit has improved and their blocking for him.”

Ideally, whether it’s Johnson or any other returner, the key is to punt the football at the numbers on the field or inside the numbers, which provides fewer ground to defend by the cover team.

“Jovon is effective catching it and going up the boundary," Crawford said. “He’s disciplined in staying with his returns and staying with his block.


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