Saints safety C.J. Gardner Johnson has now been punched by three different wide receivers this season. First, by his own teammate Michael Thomas, which led to the former Pro Bowler’s benching for detrimental team conduct. That was back in October.
Then, during the Saints’ November matchup against the Chicago Bears, CJGJ was punched again, this time by Javon Wims.
He snatched his chain and started swinging. pic.twitter.com/YwIluBafD2— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 1, 2020
It appears, however, that Wims may not have been trying to snatch CJGJ’s chain at all. As this video from two plays before shows, CJGJ snatched Wims’ mouthguard from his facemask after the two shared a brief chat. Wims may simply have been trying to retaliate by snatching CJGJ’s mouthguard, but the following blows were not tit for tat.
THREAD: My Zapruder breakdown of the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson/Javon Wims beef.— No. 1 Cobra Kai fan Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) November 2, 2020
It begins on this play on the Bears’ first possession of the second half. After exchanging some words, CJGJ rips Wims’ mouthpiece off and it falls onto the ground. pic.twitter.com/wwQgcbKdJ5
Any JFK assassination conspiracy theorist, including myself, can certainly appreciate a good Zapruder reference, yet this video is simply illuminating at showing how CJGJ has become a master at picking a fight, but not getting caught throwing the first punch.
Gardner-Johnson rejected the idea that he likes being an agitator but said, "I play football. It’s football, guys get chippy. I don’t know what to tell you. I wouldn’t be here today if I’m not me. So I’m not gonna change for nobody. I’m out there playing football."— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) November 2, 2020
Innocent doesn’t quite fit the description of CJGJ’s actions prior to Wims’ full on attack. Unless we are able to find out what CJGJ said to Wims’ teammate Anthony Miller this past weekend, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know what set Miller off to repeat the same mistake his teammate made just a couple months before.
What is clear, however, is that CJGJ’s approach to the game is having a distinct effect on Saints’ opponents’ game time preparation. Any time an opposing team has to spend on preparing for a certain player is less time the team can spend on other aspects of the game, and that’s a good thing for the Saints.
Here's Bears coach Matt Nagy explaining that the Bears literally took practice time to go over CJ Gardner-Johnson's ... let's call it "play style" (he doesn't mention him by name) to prepare for the #Saints this week.— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) January 11, 2021
Does not appear to have had the effect he hoped it would. pic.twitter.com/lRjUIm7izH
One thing is for sure: CJGJ knows how to get under folks’ skin and he knows how to look innocent while doing it. If CJGJ is trying to become the Reggie Miller of the NFL, it appears he’s got just the right temperament, swagger, and skill to become a trash talk GOAT. All he needs to do is keeping playing the same way he’s always played.
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