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Andre the Giant

Posted by Albert Breer  December 30, 2009 01:05 PM

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"You don't really ever know where he's gonna be, he's all over the place," Belichick said. "He can be the perimeter receiver on the outside, the strong side, the weak side. They put him in the slot, they motion him out of the backfield, a lot of times he's stacked with another receiver, so that it's not just him by himself, it's him and someone else, so they switch release or double inside or double outside, making it hard to leverage him.

"He gets moved around quite a bit, and he's a good blocker too. He does a good job in the running game, 225, he's a big man, so when he comes in and cracks one of the linebackers or safeties, he can get them, and on the smaller corners, he just stands out there and covers them up, and there's no run force."

An AFC scout I talked to yesterday put it this way ... "The scheme works to get him the ball. They run him off play-action, on crossing routes, the coordinator (Kyle Shanahan) does a nice job of getting him isolated on corners. He’s a very rare physical specimen. I’ think the height, weight, speed combination is unmatched."

So is Johnson unstoppable? Short of having a Darrelle Revis or a Nnamdi Asomugha to throw at him, it seems like he's as tough a player to defense as there is at that position.

Why? That part's pretty easy -- He simply lacks weaknesses.

"He's good at everything, I think that's the hard part," Belichick said. "He's very good downfield, he's an excellent deep receiver, he's got great size and speed, goes up for the ball on post patterns, corner patterns, go routes, play-action bombs down the field, he good at those. He's got good quickness in and out of cuts on those intermediate routes, those 20-yard in-cuts, the 18-yard comebacks, the post-corner routes. And he's a strong runner with the ball in his hands, so they give him slip screens and slants and crossing routes, Terrell Owens-type routes, it's a 3-yard route and 25 yards by the time he gets tackled.

"You can cover him on one thing, but it's hard to get him on everything. He's really dangerous with the ball in his hands, he overpowers a smaller guy, he outruns some of the bigger, more physical-type corners and he's a tough matchup no matter who you put on him, because of his route tree and his skill set."

If you enjoy football, keep an eye on this kid Sunday. He's something to watch.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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