I understand the general thinking. A big-play wide receiver who can take the top off a defense dictates coverage and dissuades a defense from adding an eighth man to the front to stop the run.
But I just reviewed the coaches’ film of Johnson’s 11 runs against New England that produced 4 yards.
On just two of those plays did the Patriots have more than seven men in the box.
The first attempt against a front with an extra defender went for a 3-yard loss.
The second was on a first-and-goal from the New England 1-yard line, a down that screamed run in a situation where there wasn’t space to leave safeties deep even if the Patriots wanted to. That produced a 5-yard loss.
So against a stacked box, Johnson was two-for-minus-8. And against a box where an extra defender had no bearing on the play as Johnson got the ball and looked for room, he was nine-for-12.