SANTA CLARA –- Nothing has changed in two years except for the proven quarterback at the top of the 49ers’ depth chart.
And that is why Josh Johnson believes he has a better chance to stick with the 49ers this time.
Johnson, who turned 28 on Thursday, signed Wednesday with the 49ers after the Cincinnati Bengals released him earlier in the week. He joins a group of quarterbacks that includes starter Colin Kaepernick, presumptive backup Blaine Gabbert, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner.
The 49ers’ offense now fits Johnson’s skill set better, he said.
“Obviously, Alex was the starter then and Kap is the starter now,” Johnson said. “Kap is an athletic quarterback. I’m an athletic quarterback, as well.”
Johnson outplayed Scott Tolzien during the 2012 exhibition season, but Tolzien won the job.
“It was a bit surprising,” Johnson said. “I thought I played well at the end. But I could’ve done a lot of things better, which I look forward to doing better this time around. All it really did was motivate me to work harder and get better. I feel like I’ve been able to do that.”
After the Bengals released Johnson on Monday, Harbaugh called Johnson to offer him a chance. Johnson played at University of San Diego under Harbaugh.
Johnson said his work with Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, as well as the knowledge he gained from being in 49ers camp two years ago places him in a better spot to make the team. Johnson did not attempt a pass during the regular season, but rushed seven times for 20 yards.
“I was able to reflect on a lot of the things I did wrong,” Johnson said. “And see how I could make it better. With my time in Cincinnati, being out there, becoming the No. 2, I was able to work on a lot of different things. Credit to those coaches there. I felt like they developed me.
“Coming here the last time, I felt like I was in the process of still developing as a quarterback. And, here, I feel like last year I really got to develop. I feel like I’m past the developmental stage of my career and now it’s just going out there and putting it on the field every time.”