Cornerback Trumaine Johnson helped turn the Rams from a cellar dweller into a playoff team by the time he left. He hopes to do the same with the Jets.
After signing a five-year, $72.5 million contract with the Jets in the offseason, Johnson told reporters on Thursday he believes New York has "all the potential in the world to be a playoff team."
Though the Jets finished 5-11 last season, two of their wins came against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs, who both made the playoffs. Of their losses, six were by one possession.
"The Jets last year, I was watching them," Johnson said. "They were losing close games and they beat some playoff teams."
When they lost, it was close. Their 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots featured an overturned Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown. They blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 31-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins the next week. They led the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter before losing 25-20.
By that measure, Johnson knows what it's like to turn a losing team into a winning one.
Last season was the only time the Rams finished above .500 in Johnson's six seasons with the franchise. While the Rams were boosted by the play of Jared Goff and Todd Gurley on offense, Johnson totaled two interceptions (one for a touchdown), one forced fumble and 57 tackles last season in the Los Angeles secondary.
"You got to have faith," Johnson said. "Like I said, just bring that winning culture from where I was last year. I can see it, I really can. Just got to wait and see."
The Jets return several key players on defense, including Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Williams, second-year safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, and fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne.
The Jets ranked 21st in the league last year in pass defense, while Johnson, whose career-high in interceptions was seven in 2015, helped the Rams rank 13th.
For the Jets to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010, Johnson said he thinks the key is in the little things.
"Just being details and situational masters in the game," Johnson said.