The Barons noisy off-season continues with ANOTHER big trade. In exchange for their 1st and 4th round pick in the upcoming draft, the Brooklyn Barons add WR Joe Johnson from the Mexico City Diablos to an already deep WR corps. After a disappointing outing with the underachieving, and later, unguided Diablos, Johnson looks to rekindle his flame in Coach Woods offense. Even before arriving in Brooklyn, JJ made an impact with the fans. The #82 will be synonymous with Patrick Bain for the rest of Barons history, so JJ called on the RFL faithful, asking them to vote for the jersey number he'll wear on his new team. Today we'd like to announce the winning number... #81.
JJ Watch- First Practice -Though he wasn't a full participant, JJ was seen doing some individual drills, some light 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 reps with the first team offense early in practice. -Juan Rivera was replaced by JJ in a few first team reps. Amari and JJ swapped positions at time but Manuel never left the field. -Winkler seemed to force passes to JJ whenever possible. Seems like he was trying to build chemistry and/or see what JJ's catch radius is. -One thing that is easily noticeable is JJ's run blocking ability. -Though it's only day 1, the offensive production heavily declined with Johnson in the mix.
We were able to speak with WR Joe Johnson after his first Barons practice. We wanted to get his feelings about the trade and to give his first true introduction to Brooklyn: Brooklyn Beat: Welcome to Brooklyn! Did you bring your coat?(chuckles) Joe Johnson: Thanks. I'm happy to be here! And yes! This definitely isn't Mexico weather! (Laughs) BB: Where were you when you heard the news? JJ: I was at home. Watching RFL College Series highlights. My Miami boys are 4-1 right now. They still gotta good shot! (Smiles) but anyway, the ticker runs across the screen and I see my name... I didn't know what to think. (Laughs) BB: So you had no idea? JJ: None! I gotta call from my agent saying he got a call from the Diablos. He said it was "a deal they couldn't refuse". BB: A 1st and a 4th are big deal coming from a team with the Barons draft history. Some feel even with this move it could be a top 10 pick. Does that make you feel any pressure or expectations? (In walks Coach Woods) JJ: No. I was able to talk to Coach Woods maybe an hour or two after finding out. He really said some things that made me feel good about coming here. There's a lot of opportunity in this offense. BB: Things like what? CW: I came in at the good part! (Laughs) JJ: (Laughs) I asked him, "Why me?" He told me I checked 4 of the 5 boxes he looks for in a WR. So now, I'm confused.(Laughs) So I asked, "What's the 5th box?" Coach Woods replied, "You were on the wrong team." BB: What are the other 4? CW: He has great height for the position. We've gotten taller with Martin, Hunter, even Trey at Tight End. He has great athleticism for his size. To be 6'5", 241lbs and move the way he does, the way he uses his body to his advantage, you can't teach that. He has exceptional skills as an all around WR, and he can run block." BB: While we're talking numbers, #82 is no more. How do you feel about the new duds? JJ: Well first, I appreciate everyone who voted. I thought it would be a lot closer. (Laughs) I like 81. It really looks good in that Brooklyn Blue and King's Gold. The only thing more distracting than the new number was seeing my last name on the back. Its been a while. (Laughs)
BB: Ideally, where do you prefer to line up? JJ: Everywhere! Anywhere! That's one of the things I favor about Coach's system. It allows me a lot of range and opportunity. CW: Correction, he allows us flexibility due to his skill set. JJ: (Chuckles) BB: With that being said, will JJ's physical play style mesh with the, seemingly, finesse offensive scheme you appeared to be building? CW: We hope so. It's about finding the right groove. JJ: I feel like I have the attributes to be a key player on this team and in this league. BB: How has it been working with Amari Manuel? JJ: His speed is on a whole other level! I thought JD(HB Jordyn Davork) was fast, but MAN! We've just been talking and trying to learn each other's game. We're supposed to watch film after midday practice. BB: 3 teams, 3 years, 3 top tier QBs. You're kind of luckily unlucky. (Laughs). JJ: That's one way to look at it. (Laughs) BB: What is your impression of Jack Winkler so far? JJ: He definitely has an aura about him. There's no question who the team leader is. He's smart and has a great arm. And he's kinda funny. (Chuckles) CW: Wink's been calling me "Swollen Woods" cuz I gained a few pounds this off-season. (Sigh) BB: (Holding back laughter) JJ: (Laughs hysterically) CW: (stares) Call Mexico City back! BB: (bursts out laughing) JJ: (Laughing) I'm sorry Coach! BB: Do you have anything you'd like to say in closing? JJ: Umm... I just can't wait to get into this playbook and translate that onto the field as soon as possible. You can feel it around the building that the only goal is to bring home the trophy. I just want to do my best to help accomplish that goal. I also want to thank the Barons organization for believing in me and the fans for the new number for my new journey! BB: Coach? CW: I want to thank Commissioner Smitty and the Coach's Union for allowing this to happen! BB: Thank you for your time, gentlemen. JJ: Thanks for having me! CW: Protect The Crown!
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