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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

QB Johnson surprised by news he will start vs. Redskins



Josh Johnson was told by coach Raheem Morris that it was his turn.

But being named the Bucs' starting quarterback Monday took the second-year pro from San Diego by surprise.

Johnson believed too much blame was being heaped on starter Byron Leftwich for the Bucs' 0-3 start and 24-0 loss Sunday to the New York Giants.

"Surprised? Yeah, honestly I was because it wasn't just Byron,'' Johnson said. "I felt like Byron had done a good job leading our offense and yesterday was just one of those days where didn't nothing go right. And as a quarterback of a team, if I was in the same situation, I'd would've been the guy to have to take the fall.

That's just the natural reality of the situation of being a quarterback in this league.

"Surprised? Yes. Will I be ready? Yes. Prepare the same? Yes. And the guys have been supportive. Byron has been supportive. Coaches have been supportive and we're a close-knit team. And it's not just about me changing this thing around, it's about all of us changing this thing around. we all have to come together and be better to start getting wins.''

Johnson, a fifth-round pick in 2008, spent all of last season and most of this preseason as the Bucs' No. 4 quarterback.

But the trade of Luke McCown to Jacksonville and the slow development of first-round pick Josh Freeman elevated him almost overnight to the Bucs' backup quarterback.

On Sunday, Johnson made his first appearance in a regular season game, taking over for Leftwich in the fourth quarter and leading the Bucs on a 71-yard drive that stalled after a first-and-goal at the Giants' 5-yard line.

"That's first and foremost, you've got to believe in yourself that you can get the job done,'' Johnson said. "The other 10 guys won't rally around you if they don't feel that. That's where it all starts. And I knew the preparation that I did and I knew how hard I worked with our coaches. I knew how hard its been for me to just to get where I am right now. And I always felt I could do well as the starting quarterback. So right now, my job is to get ready for this Sunday and go out and do it on the field.''

Johnson said he was called in separately by Morris Monday morning to learn he would start against the Redskins.

"He said basically, it's your turn,'' Johnson said. "It's time to come out and lead this team and do what you've been doing and try to build on what Byron did and learn from what Byron did and try to help us get a victory.

"Byron has been great. It's just unfortunate that he had to be the fall guy for all of us.''

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:43pm]


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