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What is Jim Johnson up to?

Hey, I'm a pro bowler!
Jim Johnson has seemingly gone out of his way this offseason in his praise of CB Will James, despite that fact that James was only signed midway through last year and sat out several games injured. James has boldly stated this offseason that he's a starter and expects to win a starting job and Johnson hasn't discouraged that attitude. He's claimed that the starting CB job is an open competition, and he wasn't kidding. James is running with the first team.
Brown has been a borderline Pro Bowl player for three years. Yet there he was also on the outside looking in, while Sheppard and James took their turn with the starters.

Only one of every three reps were Sheppard and Brown together.

"That's how we're going to do it," defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said after yesterday's single, no-pads practice at Lehigh. "It gives you good competition, and it's a good chance to see Will with the first group. He's going to play a lot in the nickel and (dime), so he'll be on the field a lot."

It almost seems there that Johnson has contradicted himself. He says that James is getting first team time because he'll play so much as the nickel corner on this team, which really is true. Rod Hood always played a lot of snaps as the team's 3rd corner.

This has kinda seemed to rattle Sheldon Brown a bit, who doesn't feel his job should be in in jeopardy. He's spoken several times on the subject this offseason, always careful to say he understands the need for competition but always making sure to note that he won't happy to lose his starting job.

"I can play, I'm not a bum," he said. "It's hilarious -- people are asking me, "What are you going to do if Will starts?' What am I going to do? Come on. I'm not a bum. I can play this game.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to play football in the National Football League. It doesn't matter where, I'm going to play the game."

Lito was more diplomatic.

"It'll give Will a chance to get up to speed," Sheppard said. "He needs more reps out there because he came in late (last year). He's only one play away from starting if me or Sheldon get hurt, so it's good to get him a chance to play with both of us."

Sheppard smiled again, and said, "But as camp goes on, you'll see a change in that, I'm pretty sure."

So what is Jim Johnson up to? Is he just trying to push the starters to raise their game, or does he really think a guy that has spent the last 3 years injured is going to come in and start?

My guess is that he's playing some head games, specifically with Sheldon who had admittedly is coming off a subpar year. In the end you'll see Sheppard and Brown starting with James taking Rod Hood's former role.

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