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Jags want Storm Johnson to play fast

8/25/2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars coach Gus Bradley wants running back Storm Johnson to cut it loose.

Know his responsibilities, his keys, his assignment on each play, but just quit thinking so much and play freely. It’s what coaches and players mean when they talk about playing fast.

"He’s learning that every play you have to play fast," Bradley said. "His size, his speed, really good instincts -- maybe the best instincts of all the running backs. [He just has] to put together the consistency."

That’s pretty much the issue with every rookie, and it’s something that develops over time. He’s going to get a good chance to work on that during Thursday’s preseason finale against Atlanta. Though playing time has not yet been determined, it’s likely that Johnson is going to play a lot against the Falcons. Starters generally play very little in the final preseason game, and the second half is generally reserved for rookies and bubble players to make a final impression on the coaching staff.

It’s unlikely that Johnson, whom the Jaguars selected in the seventh round in May, will get cut. He’s not likely to get a lot of work during the season because he’s behind Toby Gerhart, Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson on the depth chart, so Thursday’s game might be his best chance for extended playing time this season.

One of the other things Bradley said Johnson needs to learn is to be patient with the run game and quit trying to break long runs on every carry.

"For him, he has to understand the game," Bradley said. "For running backs, it’s 2 yards, 1 yard, and then 60. That can happen. I think that his mentality has to stay strong."

Johnson, who rushed for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons at Central Florida, said he understands that now better than when he first got to Jacksonville. Things were a little overwhelming at first but he has settled into the playbook and feels more comfortable.

"I have a great group of guys in the running back room and coach [Terry] Richardson does a great job of explaining and teaching us the offense, just what we have to do and what we’ve got to be prepared for," Johnson said. "It’s overwhelming, but I have had a lot of help along the way."