The Detroit Lions added journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson to their roster. Why was the Motor City the perfect landing spot for the veteran backup?
The Detroit Lions were unable to make it through their first preseason matchup of the year, an exhibition at Ford Field Thursday night against the New England Patriots, unscathed. The Lions’ roster suffered some significant losses due to injury, which the team is now attempting to fill.
On Saturday, the Lions made several roster moves. Detroit placed both wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and defensive tackle Darius Kilgo on injured reserve. They also waived cornerback Tarvarus McFadden from their Reserve/Injured list. In their place, the team signed free-agent quarterback Josh Johnson and running back Justin Stockton. The Lions also activated their biggest free-agent signing from the offseason, defensive end Trey Flowers, off the Active/PUP list.
A journeyman quarterback now making the Lions’ his 13th NFL team in his nomadic 12-year career, Johnson signed a one-year deal in Detroit following a concussion suffered by backup passer Tom Savage during Thursday night’s game. As Savage has a troubling history with concussions, this being his third, it is unclear when or if he will return to the team.
The 33-year-old Johnson finds himself in the ideal landing spot in the Motor City as he shares a history with current Lions’ quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. The latter was the quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans in 2017 when Josh was signed midway through the season. That established connection should allow the veteran backup to get up to speed quickly in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s new scheme. In fact, Johnson made his debut at Lions’ training camp on Saturday.
After being sacked six times by the Patriots on Thursday night, Lions quarterback David Fales posted a disappointing stat line completing just five of his 14 passing attempts for 62 yards and one interception. There were concerns about the backup quarterback position before the Lions’ first preseason game. The injury suffered by Savage and the poor play of Fales only intensified those concerns.
The more experienced Josh Johnson now comes to the Detroit Lions as the new favorite to become the primary backup to Matthew Stafford having started four games for the Washington Redskins last year, throwing for 590 yards, three touchdowns and four picks in that span.