It seemed like Tom Cable was just trying to give Stanford Routt some confidence when he hyped up the battle to start at corner. Based on his response, Chris Johnson did not seem to take it seriously either.
Since Oakland drafted Routt, he has never lived up to his potential. He quietly made the team each year, but was never more than a nickelback.
On Saturday, it became clear that Routt had won the starting job. After Johnson’s final preseason showing it wasn’t a huge surprise, but it marked the end of Routt’s career long goal to start in the NFL.
It also marked the beginning of his next challenge.
For the rest of the year, his jersey will have a massive bull’s eye on it to opposing quarterbacks.
Chris Johnson has been the most active corner in the NFL for most of the last two years. He has shown the fortitude to handle the barrage of throws that come his way. Until recently, he held up reasonably well considering how low he began on the depth chart.
Johnson was generally the first man on the field during game day. If you ever showed up early to the Coliseum, Chris was generally working out up and down the sidelines with his earphones preparing for the game.
Stanford Routt is going to need to do the same.
He may not need to go about his pregame the way Johnson did, but he needs to find a way to take the abuse that’s coming. In the past, his confidence has clearly been shaken when quarterbacks saw him as a weak link in coverage. There is no room for that any longer.
He has proven himself to the coaching staff and now needs to prove himself to himself. He’s going to have bad games, but that comes with the territory when coordinators won’t let their quarterbacks throw at Nnamdi.
Physically, Routt has the size (6’1", 200 lbs) and speed to compete with any wide receiver in the league. If he can handle the mental aspect of the game and have a short memory when necessary, he has a chance to have a special season.
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