Veteran wide receiver Stevie Johnson, a San Francisco native acquired Friday in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, is beginning to learn a new playbook that reads like Chinese, he said, and adjusting to passes from strong-armed quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Johnson had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback. Last season, Johnson was limited to 12 games due to back, groin and hamstring injuries and caught 52 passes for 597 yards -- mostly from rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel.
In his short time on the 49ers’ practice field, Kaepernick has made an impression on Johnson’s hands.
“I can tell you one thing: He kind of caught me off guard with the arm that he’s got,” Johnson said during an appearance Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “The kid’s got a cannon.
“Just seeing how he works. He looks like he’s one of those seasoned guys. Obviously, he’s been to the big dance, he’s been through playoff runs and led his team throughout the season to great seasons. Seeing the poise that he’s got. He’s a talented player. He’s gifted.”
Johnson said he believes he’s joining a talented group of pass-catchers with the 49ers. It’s a group that includes wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis.
“I don’t think the Niners really needed, needed me,” Johnson said. “It’s a good situation to fall into, because I got so much respect for the guys already on the squad.”