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Bengals Player Report Cards: Michael Johnson and Andre Smith vs Jets

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To close the book on the preseason week 2 beating handed out by the Jets, here are the grades for two players that need to step up: Michael Johnson and Andre Smith. And they have.

Andre Smith

Total Snaps: 32

Run Plays: 13

Pass Plays: 19


Positive Plays: 6

Negative Plays: 4

Neutral Plays: 22


Pass Blocking Grade: +1.0

Run Blocking Grade: 0.0

Total Grade: +1.0


Michael Johnson

Total Snaps: 30

Run Plays: 10

Pass Plays: 20


Positive Plays: 6

Negative Plays: 2

Neutral Plays: 22


Pass Defense Grade: 0.0

Run Defense Grade: +2.0

Total Grade: +2.0


Andre Smith's Best Play

Time: 10:33 - 1st QTR

Yard: own 3

Down: 3rd & 27

Offensive Formation: I-Formation; Double TEs to right; 1-WR to Left

Defensive Formation: 4-4-3; Both Safeties close to LOS

Play Description: Run Between RG-RT. Benson gains 8-yards.

Andre Smith and Bobbie Williams double block the LDE and completely blow him off the line. They don't stop pushing until Williams lets go about 5-yards downfield to take on a LB. Andre Smith finishes the play with a pancake of the Jets defender.

Grade: +0.5

Andre Smith's Worst Play

Time: 6:22 - 1st QTR

Yard: own 20

Down: 1st & 10

Offensive Formation: I-Formation; Strong right

Defensive Formation: 4-3 over; FS in Box

Play Description: Run play to the outside of RT. Loss of 2-yards.

Andre doesn't seal off the outside edge and is basically forced to hold his man the entire way down the LOS. The penalty wasn't called but if Scaife hadn't been completely manhandled, Smith's guy would've made the tackle.

Grade: -0.5


Andre Smith's Overall Performance

I think Andre has been solid this entire preseason. He hasn't been dominating on every play but he has flashed the ability to be that guy. He's still getting into shape and is still learning the finer points of the game, but he's come far enough in his game to be a starter in the NFL and actually help his team. He ended up with a better pass blocking grade (+1.0) than he did as a run blocker (0.0) vs. the Jets, but he showed his most dominating potential as a run blocker. When Smith is on, he can drive players out of the hole and remove them from the field. I'm excited to watch his growth this season. Andre Smith alone can be an upgrade to this offensive unit.


Michael Johnson's Best Play

Time: 1:02 - 2nd QTR

Down: 2nd & 10

Yard: opp 26

Offensive Formation: Shotgun; 3-WR (slot left); TE split out (Right)

Defensive Formation: Nickel; SS in Box

Play Description: Pass over the middle is incomplete.

Michael Johnson does a fake spin move that kills D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Johnson set up this move earlier by pulling off a nice spin move and getting a shot at the QB. This time, he fakes it and Ferguson bites hard inside and gives Johnson a free shot at Sanchez.

Grade: +0.5


Michael Johnson's Worst Play

Time: 11:41 - 2nd QTR

Down: 2nd & 7

Yard: opp 48

Offensive Formation: Off-set I-Formation; Strong Left; 2-WR (right)

Defensive Formation: 4-3 over; Off Coverage

Play Description: Play-Action pass; Sanchez sacked for 1-yard loss.

Michael Johnson tries an outside swim move on Ferguson but is denied. He then fakes inside, and Ferguson steps in front of that. Then Johnson quickly tries to speed around the outside by dipping his shoulder to get under Ferguson's reach. This time the Jets LT just pushes Johnson to the ground.

Grade: -0.5


Michael Johnson's Overall Performance

Michael Johnson has stepped up in a big way this preseason. Not only is he applying the rush consistently like he did at the end of last season, he has now become a premiere run defender on this team. I always wondered why they played Johnson so much on 1st and 2nd downs and didn't save him for pass rushing situations. I found out the reason after watching him snap-by-snap. He plays with great strength and leverage against the run. He recognizes it quick and seems very interested in making the tackle first. These attributes allowed him to grade with a +2.0 vs. the run in this game. This was a stellar performance in just one half of play vs. a running team like the Jets. He had a couple of great pass rushes too, but also took himself out of a couple passing plays by not playing with great leverage and balance. Still, coming away with a neutral grade as a pass rusher (0.0), against a Pro Bowl LT isn't anything to be shamed of. His potential has been flashing for two seasons. Now, it's not flashing anymore. It's on full display on almost every snap.