Johnson's Path Blocked For Now

Bruising fullback Quinn Johnson's bid to make the roster will have to wait until training camp. Johnson played in only nine games, with a modest impact on offense and no impact on special teams. We talked to Johnson and running backs coach Edgar Bennett.

A powerful man with a physique big enough to block out the sun, Quinn Johnson just looks like a fullback.

But will he actually be the Green Bay Packers' fullback?

John Kuhn played in 14 games with six starts last season. Korey Hall played in 11 games with five starts. Johnson played in nine games with no starts after being a fifth-round selection.

It was a year of transition for Johnson. He admitted on Tuesday that his knowledge of the playbook was shaky early in his rookie season. So, too, was his grasp of the zone blocking scheme. At LSU, Johnson's mission was pretty simple. See man, block man — a target that was predetermined before the snap. In the zone scheme, there generally isn't a defined target and the man he's supposed to block likely will not be clear until the last millisecond.

"I'm definitely not satisfied with it," Johnson said of his rookie season." I feel like I could have done a lot more. All I can do is just move on from there and try to catch up."

The catching up has fallen on running backs coach Edgar Bennett.

"We're working on his fundamentals, and that was one of our main priorities last year," Bennett said. "Just fundamentals and building on that and establishing a good foundation, that was really his focus last year as well as understanding from a schematic standpoint what we're asking him to do."

Judging a fullback during offseason practices is even more difficult than judging the play in the trenches. With no true contact allowed during organized team activities or minicamp, the best a fullback can do is show he knows the plays and put himself in the proper position to make the block.

"That's really the biggest thing because right now I can't pound on anyone," he said.

Coach Mike McCarthy made no bones about it, saying Johnson "needs to ... make a big jump this year." He's shown plenty of confidence in Kuhn and Hall in the past. Many teams don't even use a true fullback. McCarthy not only uses a fullback but sometimes he uses two at once.

Johnson said he doesn't see his job in training camp as knocking off Kuhn or Hall, calling his relationship with them a "brotherhood." Rather, his focus will be simply doing the best he can. Part of that will be playing well on special teams. While Hall had 12 tackles on special teams and Kuhn 11, Johnson didn't have any.

That's a surprise, considering Johnson was recruited to LSU to play linebacker.

"I love to hit people and I guess you could say that's where my heart is," he said.

Johnson said he'd be heading back to Louisiana and will spend the month working out at LSU to get ready for training camp. August will be the biggest month of his professional career, since the odds are slim that the Packers will keep all three fullbacks again.

On pure potential, Johnson should be one of the two fullbacks. At times last year, that potential turned into production. He helped spring Ryan Grant's long touchdown against Seattle last season, for instance. However, he'll need to play with more consistency, improve his receiving skills (two catches, 4 yards) and show that he's a difference-maker on a special-teams unit that was deplorable last season.

"With him, it's more of when you put pads on," Bennett said. "When we put pads on, that's when you get a better feel or appreciation for what kind of player he is, because he's different. He is more of a true thumper. When you put those pads on, you've got a big, strong guy. When you put the pads on, you can get a better feel for Quinn."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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