Pirates Defensive Lineman Toby Johnson Is Striving To Be The Defensive Player of The Year in 2022

By: Jake Ignaszewski
Pirates Insider
January 11, 2022

WORCESTER, MA- Pirates defensive lineman Toby Johnson was one of the most dominant defensive players in the IFL during the 2021 season and he’s looking to be even better in 2022. Johnson was ranked second in the IFL with 3 forced fumbles and also recorded 12 tackles for a loss. Even with those stats, Johnson gave himself a grade of A- for his performance in 2021 and believes he can be even better this next season.

In the recent State of the Pirate Ship podcast episode, Johnson said, “I want to be defensive player of the year. I feel like I have more than enough talent to do it.” Johnson mentioned that Pirates defensive coordinator Rayshaun Kizer started allowing him to play more free later in the season and he believes that helped improve his play. Johnson went on to say, “I feel like this year I have a chance to win defensive player of the year and MVP of the league. That’s what I’m aiming for this year. Last year I was good but I’m trying to get better and better each year.”

The 6’4, 304 lb defensive lineman believes that people around the league only focused on how dominant he was against the rush and didn’t give him enough attention for how well he performed in the pass rush. Johnson said, “I believe I’m one of the best if not the best pass rusher in the league.” Johnson mentioned that because of the running quarterbacks, it made it difficult for him to show off his pass rush abilities since he needed to sacrifice his positioning to ensure the defense wasn’t fooled by the quarterback scrambling. He added that once the defense became aware of how to cover running quarterbacks, then he was able to play more free and cover both ends well. Johnson went on to say, “I feel like I’m going to be dominant in the pass rush and I feel like in 16 games, I can have a 16 to 17 sack season.”

The Pirates had the best ranked defense last season, so if Johnson is able to put up those types of numbers, it will help the Pirates repeat those defensive statistics. To hear more about Toby Johnson and his experience with the Pirates during their championship season, check out the State of the Pirate Ship podcast available on all audio platforms and YouTube.

The 2021 United Bowl Champions; Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508)452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. For 2022 season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277) or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com/tickets. Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates

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