SANTA CLARA – Dontae Johnson was interviewed next to his locker Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript
Q: Going up against Jay Cutler do you expect to be targeted a little more just because you’re the rookie?
JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. That’s just one of the things: “He’s a rookie. Let’s see if he can play this game.” That’s one of the things that comes with being a rookie. You’ve got to be able to step up to the challenge, step up to the plate and make plays when presented to you. I prepared last week as if I was starting or as if I was coming in as the next man and I’m going to do the same thing this week and just play to the best of my ability.
Q: Was it easier not knowing the night before the game that you were going to have the big role you ended up having?
JOHNSON: I wouldn’t say that because I was involved in special teams, so I felt my role on special teams was crucial to the game. If I messed up on special teams, that could have been the determining factor in the game. My mindset was the still the same whether it be just special teams or coming in and playing like I did. That’s how I went into that week of preparation. I was on scout team. I made sure the offense got a great look. I’m going to continue to do that week to better myself and better this team anyway I can.
Q: You’ll be matched up with big receivers a lot on Sunday. Is that something you’re well suited for given your size and your height?
JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. With the trend that the NFL is trying lean towards – taller corners to defend taller receivers – I feel like it’s helping in my advantage. But still, you’ve still got to be able to move and do everything that a 5-10, 5-11 corner can do. By just doing that, trying to match their techniques, match my footwork and everything like that, I feel like it’s really helping me progressing my progress on the field to make plays and contribute to the team.
Q: Was there a receiver during training camp who really helped you?
JOHNSON: Honestly, our whole receiving corps did. Whether it be Anquan – physical receiver. Crabtree – physical and shifty. And then you’ve got Stevie, he’s really shifty. To Quinton Patton – speed. And Bruce Ellington – speed. Those guys all helped me just to adjust my different techniques that I can use throughout the year against different receivers with different styles.
Q: Did you go against Sammy Watkins in college?
JOHNSON: I saw him two out of the three years he was there. One year he was hurt so I didn’t see him, but the two years that we did see him, great matchup, great competitor, great size, quickness, speed, all of that. He has all the key factors to be a good receiver in this league.
Q: How did you do against him?
JOHNSON: Umm, it was one of those things where he was on one side, I was on the other so sometimes we matched up on each other, sometimes we didn’t. But then at the end of the day it was all about whether we won or lost. Pretty sure they beat us two out of the…I think it was 2 to 1 their favor.