Chargers: Jarret Johnson calls time
An old school player chose a very new school way to call a close to his playing days in the NFL, as Jarret Johnson took to Instagram to make his announcement. The 12-year veteran spent his formative years in Baltimore, and though his formative years came before we began charting games at PFF, from 2007 until his departure from the Ravens at the end of the 2011 season, he was one of the most consistent linebackers in the league.
Never by any means a destructive pass rusher, Johnson was the gold standard as a disruptive force defender on the edge to shut down opposing ground attacks, setting a point for the more heralded members of the Baltimore defense to crash to and make plays. In that spell from 2007 to 2011 Johnson was never outside the top three in run defense grade for his position (3-4 OLB in 2007, 4-3 OLB from 2008 to 2011), leading all 4-3 OLBs in run defense grade in both 2009 (+19.9) and 2010 (+15.0).
Johnson’s playing time dipped a little in San Diego (playing around 500 snaps all three seasons in southern California) but he remained an effective, if no longer dominant, defender on the edge (+5 or greater in run defense in both 2013 and 2014). In each of his three seasons with the Chargers, Johnson finished among the top five defenders on the defense for stops (20 or more each season) with only Kavell Conner and Manti Te’o topping him this season, and doing so on fewer snaps.
With Johnson’s departure the Chargers will look to the likes of Melvin Ingram to take up the mantle and drive this defense forward with youth and explosiveness. However there is no heir apparent on the roster at present to replicate Johnson’s style of play or his effectiveness against the run; few players in the league have matched Johnson in that regard over the last eight seasons.