Like many Americans, Rams safety John Johnson III is adapting to being sheltered in place due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
So far, he hasn't had to make any drastic adjustments to his routines – whether it's rehabbing his injured shoulder or staying in shape during the offseason. In fact, he has even picked up a couple of new, healthy habits.
"I have a pool luckily, so I love going swimming. It's been a little gloomy the past couple days, but I swim a lot," Johnson said on a video conference with local media Wednesday. "I just try to stay away from – I've been eating well actually, now that things are closed. I (would) eat out every day almost, so now I actually have to prepare a meal. It's actually kind of good. I'm staying out of trouble. I'm staying out of Los Angeles, so I'm enjoying this time just reflecting."
When the Rams' Thousand Oaks facility was open, Johnson was using an oculus virtual reality headset and a pair of touch controllers. The immersive wireless technology allowed him to virtually box and rock climb indoors as part of his recovery.
Though NFL teams' facilities are shut down across the county due to the pandemic, it has not negatively impacted his progress.
"I was pretty much 100 percent before the whole pandemic hit," Johnson said. "I'd like to be at the facility obviously, to keep the momentum going from when I started the rehab process, but I feel great. Body feels good. I want to say I'm in tip-top shape, but I don't want to peak too early."
That's thanks, in part, to exercising with those oculus headset programs.
"That's actually fun, and it's huge. You don't even know how much you're rehabbing when you're doing it," Johnson said. "It's just a constant shoulder workout and shoulder burn, not only for rehab, but it's actually like a workout. It feels good and it's a video game, so it's easy to incorporate."
Johnson was also able to connect with new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley before the team's facility closed as well as defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, who will reportedly sign a two-year deal with the team.
Robinson and Johnson trained together at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, so Johnson already had his phone number and was able to reach out that way when the news broke. Johnson was also able to regularly speak with Staley because of Los Angeles keeping its new coordinators behind instead of sending them to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.
"During my rehab, I'd say we probably talked twice a week with him being around the building," Johnson said. "I definitely stopped by his office and chopped it up a lot. He's a great guy, great coach. He's had great players play underneath him, safeties to be specific, so I just can't wait to get to work with him."
Johnson is preparing as though training camp and the NFL season will start on time. He can still study Staley's new defense via Zoom meetings and downloading information to his iPad.
The upcoming season is also a big one for him. He will be entering the final year of his rookie contract and is a candidate for an extension. For now, though, he will stick with his quarantine routine and hopes to eventually have the chance to let his play dictate a potential new contract.
"I think what you put out there every week is going to speak for myself, and my goal right now is to not let this injury carry over into my contract year," Johnson said. "I'm just looking at it as a redemption, a bounce back."