When he was scoring touchdowns last season his emotions and celebrations got him in trouble. Now he's trying to use his emotion to revive a Bills team that desperately needs to pull itself out of a funk after a pair of lopsided losses.
Johnson has been showing a bit more emotion on the field the past two weeks, mainly out of frustration. Against the Patriots after not connecting on a pass play that carried him out of bounds Johnson punched the New England bench. His frustration also came out of him on the sidelines during the blowout loss at San Francisco.
Buffalo's top wideout wants to more effectively channel that emotion to help maintain the energy level of his team, which has clearly waned in games the past two weeks.
"We need more enthusiasm," said Johnson. "I feel like I haven't provided that. I feel like certain things that I've done in the past, I think it helped the guys out more than what I've been doing lately. I've got to work on that. I don't want to be so dull to my teammates. I want to show them that emotion to see if we can make a change."
The change Johnson ultimately wants is in performance. He and the rest of his teammates know they haven't come close to playing winning football. A passionate player and a playmaker for the offense, Johnson knows teammates look to him to make plays and at times for an emotional lift.
"There isn't a game they don't need to step up," said head coach Chan Gailey of his playmakers. "They need to step up every game. We've got some good players on our football and you expect a lot out of the guys that have shown they can be big time players for you. So we need to all show up this week, even the guys that aren't playmakers need to show up."
Johnson hopes making plays and displaying some emotion will help the team sustain a high level of play.
"There's sort of been a line between showing too much emotion and people taking it the wrong way," said Johnson. "We're all grown and we're all professionals and we're here for a reason and you should be able to take whatever emotion we give. They know I'm trying to better myself and better the team so you know anybody taking anything sensitive on the squad should evaluate themselves. I'm just trying to do it for the guys."
Johnson believes most of his teammates are self-motivators and might not need the jumpstart, but the Bills wideout did not like the lifeless vibe his team put out on the field in the second half last week and wants to change it.
"I know most of the guys don't really need it. Maybe it'll help me too," he said. "I haven't been playing well. My stats have been bad and awful. Maybe it's just for myself to get better for these Sundays."
After scoring touchdowns in each of the first three games, Johnson hasn't found the end zone the past two weeks and has had trouble delivering the big play with defenses keeping him in front of them. But Johnson isn't concerned about the size of the plays.
"Whether it be big plays or working the field with five yard passes or seven yard passes, as long as it gets to six points then I'm good with it," he said. "It doesn't have to be the long bomb. As long as we get in the end zone and win that's what is important."