SB Nation

Shawne Merriman | April 3, 2015

A Teammate's Perspective

My Days in Buffalo with Stevie Johnson

Shawne Merriman stops buy again to recall his playing days in Buffalo with the Chargers' newly-acquired Wide Receiver, Stevie Johnson.

One of my first days in Buffalo after I first signed with the Bills, Stevie Johnson was one of the first guys that I talked to. He came to the locker room after I signed and we talked for a minute.

One of the first things he said was, "Man, I'm trying to have it like you guys had it out there in San Diego." He was talking about how we were in the playoffs almost every year, and how the passing offense seemed unstoppable with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. He wanted that in Buffalo.

When Stevie came up and said those words to me, I already knew I had joined a team with someone who had the mindset of a winner.

Stevie's Playing Style

Stevie's playing style is so different it's almost like fighting someone with an awkward boxing style. He has an awkward way of running routes, and he does a lot of different things, and that makes it harder for opponents to cover him.

Stevie makes it harder for opponents to cover him

He had his time at the end in Buffalo where he was injured, and that hampered him a little bit, but when he was on the field he proved he was one of the best in the game.

I never covered him in practice, but I did get to watch a lot of film on him. I'd watch him and try to figure out what route he was running. When he's running a simple slant, he'll get to where he's supposed to be, but he'll find new ways to get there. It may be an in-out-up move and then in, all in an effort to get open.

Once Stevie builds a good connection with a quarterback and that quarterback learns his style and knows how he plays, and they can get on the same page, he's deadly. There's no way to cover somebody that is so unconventional. Coaches don't know how to coach you to stop a guy like Stevie Johnson.

With Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen out there running routes with him, Stevie is going to have a bunch of one-on-one match–ups. Personally, I would be disappointed if he didn't win most of them.

Photo credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Image

Stevie's Reputation

As far as his reputation as a loudmouth … some guys gain that reputation without trying. Some guys bring attention to themselves simply by who they are, and not who they are trying to be; they're completely different.

Certain guys really do try to get a part of the limelight, but if you know Stevie as a person, he draws attention naturally because of his individuality, confidence, and how comfortable he is in his own skin. That can be mistaken for someone who is starving for attention, but he's just not like that.

Stevie is the same guy when the cameras are around than when they're not. It's just who he is. He's that kind of a person and that kind of a personality. He has an attitude about him, that's just in his personality. Stevie has an attitude and an edge about him, the same way people say Dez Bryant does.

Stevie is the same guy when the cameras are around than when they're not

The truth of the matter is, everybody handles things differently. As long as the team knows who they're dealing with and how to deal with him, as well as how to utilize him, it can be very, very beneficial to the Chargers.

Everybody contributes to a team, that's what makes the game of football so great. Everybody on that field is an individual, but when they come together on Sunday, and get on the same page despite differing personalities, everybody is working towards the same common goal.

Everybody works together to win.

About the Author

3x Pro Bowler
3x All Pro
Played for the SD Chargers & Buffalo Bills

CEO of Lights Out Brand
United Talent Agency (UTA)