The three-day summit allowed for bonding and collaboration among the NFL’s best at the position.
“I think going into the tight end position, just to start, I didn’t know too much about it,” Johnson said. “When I first started, I didn’t what a technique was. I didn’t know a nine-tech, an eight – I didn’t know any of that. I just went into it and was blocking bodies.
“It was pretty tough for me to start off, because I would go into it and people would be like, ‘Just block the seven-tech.’ I was like, I don’t know if that’s right, left, if he’s inside. I had no idea. That was just more of a self-evaluation, more self-study for me in just investing in what I need to know.
“Tight End U taught me a lot because I was around tight ends that I haven’t been around before. I think, personally for me, I haven’t learned a lot from guys before other than (former Saint and current Denver Bronco tight end) Adam Trautman, who’s helped me out tremendously in my development. But I think other than him, I haven’t learned a whole lot from players in terms of, ‘Yeah, you should do this,’ and, ‘This is how we do things, this is how you set.’ So for me, it was really good for me to go there and learn a lot.”
Even before that, Johnson appeared to be poised for a breakout season, having shown steady improvement each year.
“Honestly, a breakout is whatever you make it,” he said. “Everybody has their own sort of ‘breakout,’ what it means. I could say yes, or whatever, but at the end of the day, if I have one what does it matter if we don’t win? Because at the end of the day, that’s why we’re here.
“That’s why D.A. (Coach Dennis Allen) put this team together, that’s why Derek is here, that’s why Mike T. (receiver Michael Thomas) is back, so we can have sort of a breakout team, so we can win. So we can have another division title, so we can clinch that No. 1 seed, so we can win the Super Bowl.
“So I can say I want to have a breakout season. Who doesn’t? At the end of the day, I’m tired of going home after the last game, watching teams that I know we beat, or we could have beaten, or we’re better than who are in the playoffs.”
TRANSACTIONS: The Saints signed running backs Tony Jones and Jordan Mims to the practice squad, and released running back Ellis Merriweather and linebacker Ty Summers.
OUT, IN: Rookie running back Kendre Miller (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, but tight end Taysom Hill returned.