"You always have to have faith things are going to get better," Johnson said Thursday. "You can't get down and think things won't get better or they definitely won't."
Detroit won just two games last season after going winless the previous year, the first time that's happened to any NFL team. The Lions won seven games in 2007 after making Johnson the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft.
"Losing always gets to you," Johnson acknowledged.
Despite being regarded as one of the game's best receivers — especially when he caught 12 touchdown passes and had 1,300-plus yards receiving two years ago — Johnson hasn't been invited to play in the Pro Bowl.
"When you don't win, you don't get the recognition," he said.
Johnson joined his teammates for offseason workouts this week, hoping to improve his chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Johnson also hopes he has figured out a way to stay on the field after getting slowed by nagging injuries last season, working with a trainer to strengthen the areas around his knee joints.
"I want to stay healthy so I can be out there every Sunday," he said.
The former Georgia Tech star from Tyrone, Ga. has been encouraged by Detroit's many moves this offseason, including the addition of veteran receiver Nate Burleson, whom he is counting on to make teams regret blanketing him with double- and triple-team coverage.
"We have the tools, we just have to use them," Johnson said.