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Johnson: ‘We’ve just got to keep working’

Steven Johnson leads the XFL with 40 tackles.

SEATTLE – Standing outside on a chilly Saturday night in St. Louis, linebacker Steven Johnson waited on the tarmac and tried to work his way through the Dragons’ third loss in four games.

“What more could I have done?” He says.

Watch Seattle play and Johnson is all over the field. He leads the XFL in tackles with 40 and has set an example for the Dragons’ defense with his leadership and playmaking.

For Johnson, though, that’s not enough. After each game he asks himself the same thing: “What more could I have done?”

“I’m trying to figure out, maybe if I would have made that play, maybe if I was closer to that route, I could have picked that ball off,” Johnson said.

Against St. Louis last week, Johnson said he was able to reach up and knock away a pass. He prevented a completion, but he wanted the interception.

“Maybe if I was one step to the right I could have intercepted it for a touchdown,” he said. “That’s just me being me and being hard on myself. I think there are a lot of guys who are like that.”

If there is one thing that is clear through four games, the Dragons’ defense remains undeterred by the team’s 1-3 record.  

“We’ve just got to keep working, man, keep trusting in our coaches and what they’re teaching us and continue working hard in practice, because the games are won in practice,” Johnson said. “We’ll get on the right track. We’ve just got to trust and believe it’s going to work out.”

We’ve just got to keep working, man, keep trusting in our coaches and what they’re teaching us and continue working hard in practice, because the games are won in practice. We’ll get on the right track. We’ve just got to trust and believe it’s going to work out.”

Steven Johnson

With the team anxious to get back in the win column, Johnson said it is important to remain focused, while avoid pressing to make a big play.

“That’s tough,” Johnson said. “That’s just trusting your teammates and that just comes with repetition and confidence that the guy next to you is going to get his job done, no matter what. I know, toward the end of the game, you’re itching to make a play, but that just comes down to practice, that family atmosphere and that camaraderie like, ‘Hey, let’s do this. Let’s do our job and it’s going to be good enough.’”

Johnson said quarterback BJ Daniels’ second-half performance gave the defense a boost that, despite the loss, has carried over into practice this week.

“When BJ came in, a lot of guys were excited for him,” Johnson said. “He created some opportunities for the offense to score, so guys were super excited and it gave the team a little bit of a jolt when we saw him working up and down the field, because we’ve seen him working hard.”

Johnson said the key to success moving forward is to continue the camaraderie that team has carried to this point in the season. The Dragons just have to keep working.

“We just have to start clicking more, making more plays,” he said. “Everything is still right in front of us. I know the whole world has counted us out and Vegas has got us negative, whatever they have us.

“Everything is still right there for us. We win games, we go to the playoffs. That’s the most important thing. We’ve got to go out here in practice and win every practice, win every rep, every day.

Win or lose, Johnson will leave Houston this week asking the same question: “What more could I have done?”

He isn’t satisfied with being good. He wants to be great. He will keep working as long as it takes to get the Dragons back in the win column.

“Everybody is counting us out,” he said. “What more could you want.”