The Buffalo Bills walked out of their Monday game against the Tennessee Titans with a massive 41-7 victory. While they got the win, they suffered a massive loss to their secondary. Micah Hyde sustained a neck injury that kept him out the rest of the game. Saturday morning, it was announced by his agent that the neck injury would keep him out the rest of the season as he was being placed on injured reserve. Now, it’s the next man up.
Bills safety Micah Hyde will be put on IR today due to his recent neck injury and is out for the 2022 season, per agent @jackbechta pic.twitter.com/y2zeJfDOa7
— TWSN (@TWSN___) September 24, 2022
That player is Jaquan Johnson. He has been with the Bills now for four seasons, being drafted in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Hyde and Jordan Poyer have made up the top safety duo in the NFL, making Johnson’s time on the field very limited. He has played in 46 games where he has taken 222 defensive snaps.
Last season in Week Four, Johnson got his first start against the Houston Texans with Poyer unable to play. Against the Texans he did a superb job in his first start. He only allowed one completion for 12 yards, no touchdowns, made three tackles while missing zero, and came away with an interception. Even in a limited role, whenever Johnson saw the field he has made the most of it, notching 29 tackles and only allowing a total of 76 yards on eight completions.
When you look back at his college career, he lacked the ball hawking ability which led to him sliding a bit, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he plays with great instincts. He ended up with a total of 139 tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight interceptions, seven pass deflections, and six forced fumbles. His range allows him to always be in the vicinity of where the ball is going to be.
Johnson has the physicality to match up with running backs and plays with great pursuit when coming downhill. What is also essential for Johnson on this Bills’ defense is how sound he is. Johnson knows where he needs to be, he doesn’t fall for play-fakes that try to lead him out of his position in coverage.
Learning from Poyer, Hyde, and Bills’ safeties coach Jim Salgado, Johnson has only continued to improve. Not having Hyde is a major loss. His leadership is something that can not be replaced in the secondary, but Johnson has waited patiently and now he gets his chance to step up in a crucial moment. Johnson is in a contract year, and if there is any chance for him to prove his worth, it is now.