Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Woodlands, TX
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Nice to see Andre finally get some much needed publicity:
Notebook: Texans know they have gem in Johnson
Nov. 3, 2004
By Clark Judge
SportsLine.com Senior Writer
With the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, the Houston Texans figured to wind up with one of three players -- wide receiver Charles Rogers, wide receiver Andre Johnson or defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson. Privately, however, they hoped it would be one in particular.
Andre Johnson seemingly becomes more dangerous by the week.
"In all the years I've been scouting," said Texans senior vice president and general manager Charley Casserly, "I'd never seen a wide receiver who was this big, this fast, this athletic and this good."
We know. We know. The Texans wound up with their man after Detroit chose Rogers, and in 1½ seasons, Johnson has become the league's most promising young wide receiver since Minnesota took Randy Moss with the 21st pick of the 1998 draft.
There is nothing the guy can't do. He's quick. He's fast. He's strong. He's physical. Plus, he catches everything thrown at him. In short, he's everything the Texans envisioned when they chose him ahead of Robertson, and he's a pivotal reason Houston is a half-game behind front-running Jacksonville in the AFC South.
"When we looked at Andre," said Casserly, "there wasn't any negative on him. He was strong, fast, athletic and tough. Occasionally, he'd drop a ball, but we said, 'We can work with him to correct that,' and we have. The guy just needed direction more than anything else."
The only direction you see with Johnson these days is north. Everything with this guy is pointed up. In his first season, he led all AFC rookies in catches (66) and receiving yards (976); had three 100-yard games; led the league with 445 yards after the catch; and showed all the signs of becoming the ideal target for the team's franchise quarterback, David Carr.
Now there can be no doubt. Johnson is the AFC's fourth-leading receiver; is second to Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith in yards; has two 100-yard games; hauled in a club-record 12 passes against Minnesota; and scored as many times (4) through seven games as he did in 16 last season.
"I know you hear that stuff about how rookie receivers can't make an impact, but that's a bunch of bull," said Casserly. "It all depends on the system and the opportunities he's given. What you're seeing now is a confident receiver who's making plays downfield in spots where he wasn't making them a year ago."
Johnson was nothing short of marvelous in an overtime loss to Minnesota, making acrobatic catches and carving up the Vikings secondary for a career-best 170 yards. Then last weekend, he had a team-high nine catches -- including the 100th of his short career -- in a 20-6 defeat of Jacksonville, the Texans' fourth victory in five games.
The Texans are hot, and so is their second-year receiver. Through 26 games, Johnson has 108 catches for 1,541 yards and eight TDs, and while that's short of what Moss accomplished through his first 26 starts (101 catches, 1,827 yards and 21 scores) it's better than almost everyone else. That's one reason you had better start taking Johnson and the Houston Texans seriously.
"I think the guy's becoming one of the top receivers in the league," said Casserly.