Stevie Johnson and his quarterback journey


SAN DIEGO -- The list of quarterbacks that have thrown passes in an NFL regular season games to new San Diego Chargers receiver Stevie Johnson reads like a phone book for journeyman quarterbacks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, E.J. Manuel and Thad Lewis completed the most passes to Johnson during his time in Buffalo. None of those quarterbacks have over an 81.4 (Lewis) career passer rating, made a Pro Bowl or are even assured a starting job in 2015.

Johnson’s new quarterback Philip Rivers has a career 95.7 passer rating, currently No. 6 all-time in NFL history.

Perhaps the best quarterback Johnson played with before his arrival in San Diego was Colin Kaepernick during his one-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers. Of course, that resulted in perhaps Johnson’s least productive season as a pro since 2010, finishing with 35 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns for the 49ers last season.

So it’s no wonder Johnson was giddy when he signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal to join the Chargers in free agency.

“It’s a good feeling,” Johnson told the team’s website. “Sometimes I feel like, ‘Man, I wish I had [him] earlier in my career.’ But it is what it is. You’ve just got to take care of your body, and make sure you can stay because it’s a hell of an opportunity to be playing with this quarterback. You’ve just got to take advantage of it.”

The feeling has been mutual by Rivers, who immediately developed a good rapport with Johnson. The two have connected several times for big plays, and Johnson has been perhaps the most impressive player in training camp for the Chargers.

“Stevie is really doing great,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. “He’s really focused every day. Phil had the greatest compliment about him. He said, 'I can’t find one thing to say bad about the kid since he’s gotten here.’

“He’s a veteran who adds stability and leadership. Keenan [Allen] has learned a lot from him, I’m sure."