After a quiet four-week stretch earlier in the season, wide receiver
It’s not a coincidence.
Johnson, a five-time Pro Bowler who’s in his 10th season, said Thursday that his body feels “better and better” every week. After missing nine games last season with hamstring injuries, all of spring practices with a knee injury and part of training camp and the preseason with a groin injury, the 31-year-old wide receiver is finally hitting his stride.
“When I actually sit down and think about it, the past two seasons, I’ve missed a ton of football,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you the last time I’ve really done a full training camp. Training camp, even maybe full OTAs, those are things that get you ready for the season. I’ve missed a lot of that just battling through different injuries and stuff like that.
“I think now, I’m just starting to feel faster, feel a little bit more flexible and things like that. I think my play is kind of starting to show it.”
Johnson has 17 catches for 161 yards in the Texans’ last two games, From Weeks 2-5, he had only nine catches for 164 yards total, averaging 2.25 catches and 41 receiving yards per game.
Considering Johnson’s career per-game averages are 5.74 catches (second all-time) and 78.3 receiving yards (first all-time among players with 100 games), that four-game stretch was cause for concern among fans and media. Many wondered if he had lost a step. But Johnson is now on pace for his sixth 1,000-yard season, leading the Texans with 34 catches for 444 yards through seven games.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said before the bye week that he thought the best for Johnson this season might be yet to come. He reaffirmed that Friday, saying he has noticed Johnson’s improved health and performance.
“He and I talked about that this week,” Kubiak said. “After what he’d been through for a year and a half almost and then he came to camp and there was some missed time in camp… (there) just hasn’t been that total rhythm. But now there’s been some rhythm. He’s been there every week. I think when we got off the turf in New York (in Week 5), the next two weeks, he’s played his best football. He’s running better right now, to me. He’s starting to look closer to himself. I think he’s only going to get better, so it’s very encouraging for us.”