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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Brad Johnson is the ring leader

    Posted on Sun, Sep. 10, 2006

    [size=13pt]Ring leader[/size]

    Brad Johnson was efficient and effective when he directed the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win in 2003. The Vikings are hoping for a repeat performance.

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    Before becoming Vikings offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell had the typical perception of quarterback Brad Johnson.

    "I always knew he was a solid football player, but I probably don't know how much respect I had for him," said Bevell, a former University of Wisconsin quarterback who coached the position for the Green Bay Packers from 2003 to 2005. "I didn't know all the ins and outs of him. I knew he had taken a team to the Super Bowl. But for whatever reason, he never had the respect of the league. And now that I'm here, you wonder why, because he's a great player."

    With a career record of 65-43 as a starter and one of the best win-loss ratios among active quarterbacks, Johnson twice has been selected to the Pro Bowl, and he boasts an NFL-record 10 consecutive seasons with a completion percentage above 60 percent.

    But his teammates care only about one thing: his ring.

    Consider the comments of newly acquired receiver Todd Pinkston. When asked about Johnson, Pinkston quickly said, "I know he led a team to a Super Bowl.

    "That's all you need to know about him."

    Indeed, Johnson led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, a 48-21 thrashing of the Oakland Raiders. And while the Bucs' feared defense drew the headlines, Johnson, in trademark fashion, efficiently led the NFC with a passer rating of 92.9 and threw 22 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

    Can he do it again?

    His teammates and coaches don't see any reason why not.

    "When you're trying to win a race, and you've got someone who's been across the finish line before, you have confidence," Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot said. "He was on a similar team. They had a great defense, and they moved the ball. I hope we can follow the same format, and we can pick up where they left off."

    This exhibition season, the Vikings' defense showed signs of marked improvement. But Johnson didn't want to compare defenses.

    Johnson said a key to the 2002 Bucs was they were an opportunistic bunch.

    "The greatness of that team," Johnson said, "was we scored early in games, and we played with leads, and the defense got off the field and created turnovers."

    Johnson said he doesn't see any apparent weaknesses on the current Vikings roster.

    "The nucleus is good enough to get it done," Johnson said, "and whether we get it done or not is a different story. But it's good enough."

    That last comment is the double-edged compliment that is oft-bestowed on Johnson. A former ninth-round draft pick, Johnson has been overshadowed by more prototypical quarterbacks.

    For instance, in 23 fewer starts than Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair, Johnson has just one fewer touchdown pass (155 to 156) and interception (102 to 103) than McNair.

    In Green Bay, Bevell coached Brett Favre, and he said the two quarterbacks have some glaring similarities — and differences. He cited their comparable experience and age, and the fact that both have won Super Bowls.

    "There are a lot of similarities there," Bevell said, "But in terms of playing, they're different guys. Brad knows his limitations. He knows that, 'Hey, I'm not going to fire a ball in the middle of three people and hope my guy comes up with it.' And Brett will do that, because he feels he can get it in there. Just different mentalities on how they play."

    What has impressed Bevell most is Johnson's preparedness and willingness to scrutinize every play like a coach.

    "He wants to know the whys and what- fors of your offense," Bevell said. " 'Why are you doing those things? How is that going to help me? What if this happens?' He wants to have all the answers.

    "You always teach him the best-case scenario, and he's always thinking the worst-case scenario. He thinks everything through, 100 percent."

    Johnson said his approach is necessary because of the loneliness of the position come Sundays and Mondays.

    "On game day, you're like a boxer," Johnson said. "They give you water and pull out that chair, but then you're out there by yourself. And as a quarterback, if you don't have an answer, then (fans are) throwing hot dogs at you. So I want answers."

    After the exhibition season, Bevell said Johnson managed the offense the way he and coach Brad Childress had envisioned.

    "He's not going outside of it, and he's not trying to do it on his own," Bevell said. "He's doing it just the way we're telling him to do it. And he needs to continue to do that, and we'll be successful."

    Nationally, one NFL observer who led a team to the Super Bowl predicts greatness for Johnson this season.

    "I don't think it's a stretch that in the NFC, Brad Johnson has a chance to be a Pro Bowl quarterback," ESPN analyst Joe Theismann said. "In fact, I think the Vikings have a chance to be the surprise team in football this year."

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Purple Floyd's Avatar
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    Re: Brad Johnson is the ring leader

    "singersp" wrote:
    Posted on Sun, Sep. 10, 2006

    [size=13pt]Ring leader[/size]



    "He wants to know the whys and what- fors of your offense," Bevell said. " 'Why are you doing those things? How is that going to help me? What if this happens?' He wants to have all the answers.

    "You always teach him the best-case scenario, and he's always thinking the worst-case scenario. He thinks everything through, 100 percent."

    Johnson said his approach is necessary because of the loneliness of the position come Sundays and Mondays.

    "On game day, you're like a boxer," Johnson said. "They give you water and pull out that chair, but then you're out there by yourself. And as a quarterback, if you don't have an answer, then (fans are) throwing hot dogs at you. So I want answers."



    That is what I like about Johnson. He has the depth of knowledge to not only look at the plan, but the weaknesses of the plan to try to minimize their impacts.

  3. #3
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    Re: Brad Johnson is the ring leader

    "singersp" wrote:
    Posted on Sun, Sep. 10, 2006Nationally, one NFL observer who led a team to the Super Bowl predicts greatness for Johnson this season.

    "I don't think it's a stretch that in the NFC, Brad Johnson has a chance to be a Pro Bowl quarterback," ESPN analyst Joe Theismann said. "In fact, I think the Vikings have a chance to be the surprise team in football this year."
    I know a lot of people don't like Joe Theisman, but keep in mind that Joe was the ONLY ESPN analyst to pick Pittsburgh going to the Superbowl in the pre-season last year (Watch the latest Bang-toon for more on that).

    Caine

  4. #4
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    Re: Brad Johnson is the ring leader

    That is exactly why I don't understand why BJ doesn't get the respect he deserves.. Everyone was always talking about Culpepper and his TD passes to Carter, and Moss.. Any QB with a strong arm could throw TD passes to those two guys..

    BJ is a total different QB.. He can read defenses, pass with great accuracy, and throw the ball away when there is no play to be made.. BJ is the prime example of a great QB.. If our defense plays like they are expected, and our O-Line plays like they should, then there is no reason why BJ and the rest can't go to, and win the SB

  5. #5
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    Re: Brad Johnson is the ring leader

    he is the clear leader on the team and he has to be for us to go anywhere this season
    We're bringing purple back.

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