clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Alexander Johnson may be the Broncos answer at inside linebacker

New, comments

The man nicknamed the “Dino” has taken advantage of his opportunity but also remains hungry to get even better.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Life boils down to chances.

When one presents itself, do you take advantage of it or let it pass by?

For Alexander Johnson, it’s been the former — in resounding fashion. The last two weeks, he’s made it clear his spot is in the middle of the Denver Broncos defense. Johnson has seemingly been all over the field and played a big part in the defense’s dominance over that stretch. The latest showing for Johnson: He led Denver with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. The result was a 16-0 win over the Tennessee Titans (2-4) and a two-game winning streak that has brought hope back to Broncos Country.

As Adam Malnati and I talked about on the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), what it’s also done is hopefully bring the solution to a problem that has long riddled the Broncos (2-4) — a playmaker at inside linebacker.

“He’s been killing it since he stepped in, and I’m happy for him,” Denver edge Von Miller told the media after Sunday’s win. “I’m not surprised as he does all that stuff in practice. He’s a great guy off the football field. We box in the offseason, we’ve done so much stuff. He’s been talking about it and meditating and waiting for his shot. It’s definitely inspiring.”

The goal for Johnson is to ensure this isn’t a mirage.

Strive to get even better and build off of the last two weeks. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio will no doubt do his part to keep Johnson level and motivated, but Johnson will have to do his part as well. The biggest test will come on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs and that vaunted offense that poses match-up nightmares for defenses. If Johnson is able to make this a trifecta, watch out.

“I dream about it, think about it, talk about it, meditate about it,” Johnson said to the media. “What you think about, you bring about. Then I was patient. I sit with my family, I’m like, ‘When I get my opportunity, I’m going to go out there and give it my all.’ When you give your all and keep believing, God can do anything. It worked out how I dreamt it.”

Added Fangio: “To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I think I’ve said all along that he’s got talent. He can be a good inside linebacker in this league. He got this opportunity and he’s running with it. He’s a big, physical inside linebacker that plays hard and likes football. Hopefully he will get better and better.”

The expectation is the same for Broncos Country. Denver fans have been so starved for a middle linebacker like Johnson the last two games, they’ll take any hope this is the answer and amplify it. Still, something tells me the man nicknamed “Dino” will have no problem staying hungry.

Johnson knows the rare chance he’s been given, and he’s not about to let it slip through his fingers now.

“It’s just like a personality, I guess,” he said about his nickname. “I got it from one of my guys back from college and it’s just transformed. I do it with kids when I’m playing with kids, and then I can relate it to on the football field, as I’m going to go eat and going to go hunt. I came up with a little thing. Guys are calling themselves ‘G.O.A.T.’ (Greatest Of All Time) and stuff like that. I’m the dinosaur, and dinosaurs eat the goat, so I’m out there trying to ball out and have fun with it. It seems like it’s working.”

MHR Radio is now on ApplePodcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher,TuneIn and anywhere else you get your podcasts. Please subscribe to the one that fits your fancy, and also rate and review what you hear.