Brad Johnson points to his quick success with the Redskins after his trade to Washington as evidence that the Buccaneers can succeed with a new quarterback in 2001
Last Wednesday, quarterback Brad Johnson hit One Buccaneer Place early, expressly for the purpose of holding his first video interview with Buccaneers.com. An 8:40 Q&A session was going to be followed, on Johnson's schedule, by a weight-room workout and an on-field session with teammates and coaches. It was a full day of work, carefully segmented.
One small problem. Buccaneers.com wasn't ready. Thanks to a scheduling conflict with the trainers, who were conducting physical exams of draft-eligible players, the interview room wasn't ready. Johnson was informed that the interview couldn't happen until at least 9:15.
No worries. Johnson is nothing if not adaptable. That is certainly going to come in handy this year, and not just with the media. The former Minnesota Viking and Washington Redskin will be learning his third offense in five years. If his first season in Washington, 1999, was a reliable indicator, this current adaptation should be smooth sailing. Johnson earned his first Pro Bowl nod as a Redskin in '99, throwing for 4.005 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Most Buccaneer fans already know these stats, of course. What they're interested in knowing is how well Johnson is coming along in red and pewter. On Wednesday, when the backup interview room was ready, Johnson took some time out from his schedule to answer the specific queries of those fans.
Johnson was the latest guest in Buccaneers.com's popular Your Turn series, where all of the questions used to conduct the interview are supplied by fans using the web site. Johnson answered 20 such questions, and the first 11 were covered on Buccaneers.com last week. To watch the video of the second half of the interview, please click here.
In addition, a full written transcript of the questions and answers follows.
Your Turn with Brad Johnson, Part II, April 11, 2001
Richard Lyde of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Have you and Keyshawn Johnson been working on timing since you have been signed? Also, have you and Shaun King gotten to each other better since the signing?
Brad Johnson: Actually, Keyshawn was a big reason why I came here to Tampa. I've been here for about four weeks now and Keyshawn's been here for about two weeks. We've thrown five or six times together and I feel very comfortable with him. He's a big target, he runs good routes and he's going to be able to make those plays sometimes when I'm a little off. Sometimes, if it's a bad ball, he can break it up. I think there's a good chemistry being built there. I think the process of going through mini-camps and training camps will help us out, but it's a lot of fun playing with him.
Right now, I'm kind of new on board and I'm learning my way with the other quarterbacks. We've got Shaun King, Ryan Leaf, Ted White and Joe Hamilton, and we'll make those friendships and working relationships. That takes its time throughout the year; we're getting along great so far and it will be a fun process to complete.
Frank Merriam from Richland, Michigan: First, I'm a die-hard Redskins fan. I actually bought an authentic Riddell helmet signed by you. A friend of mine at Michigan State says that Norv Turner was the most underrated, brilliant head coach. Do you agree? Thanks, mostly for being one of the few in the last few years to give credence to Redskin Pride.
Brad Johnson: Norv is very sharp and probably didn't get enough credit there in Washington. He was a tremendous coach back in his Los Angeles days with Jim Everett, then he coached Troy Aikman. He probably didn't get enough credit in Washington. He played with some young quarterbacks with Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte. He went through about five or six quarterbacks, went through three different ownerships, went through a stadium change, got rid of a lot of bad players, went through two different GMs. I don't think he was ever given enough credit. It was a rough situation for five or six years. He's a tremendous coach, and now he's in San Diego. Last year, they were 1-15, but I think it will be kind of fun to watch that team. They've got Doug Flutie and you'll see that team make a big jump over the next two years. He's a tremendous coach, very sharp-minded, and he really kind of took me to another level, having reached the Pro Bowl two years ago. I have a lot of respect for and a good friendship with Norv.
Josh from Largo, Florida: How hard do you feel it will be for you to adjust to the Bucs' offense? Do you think that your style of quarterbacking with have any effect on the offense?
Brad Johnson: Hopefully, it comes around again, but I think I've been pretty consistent throughout my career – a very high-completion quarterback, high efficiency, and I spread the ball around to a lot of different players. My style of play is more in the play-action type of passing game, and with the amount of receivers that we have around here, with the guys that can catch the ball coming out of the backfield, I think it's almost a perfect fit. And because this is more of a running type of emphasis, there will be a lot of play-action passing going on. So I think it's a perfect fit for both Tampa Bay and myself.
E.G. Waldrop of Mineral, Virginia: Considering that you have already played behind almost half of this offensive line, how does this current group match up against the lines you have played with through your career and how much did it contribute to your coming to the Buccaneers?
Brad Johnson: It's interesting. I feel like that was one of the best lines up in Minnesota ever. You had Todd Steussie, who made a couple of Pro Bowls, Jeff Christy's made three Pro Bowls, Korey Stringer, who I believe has made one, Dave Dixon, who's 370 pounds, and Randall McDaniel, probably the best offensive guard ever to play the game. I thought that was an unbelievable line.
Then I went to Washington, and the year before I got there they had (given up) 64 sacks. We got it down to 26, and now you'll see that they have a couple of very good linemen, especially in Jon Jansen and the left tackle, Chris Samuels.
Here, I think it's a great fit again, back with Jeff Christy and Randall McDaniel. We signed Jerry Wunsch back. I think it's going to be a very good offensive line. With Chris Foerster working as the offensive line coach – I have all the respect for him. I have a lot of confidence in the offensive line.
Steve Robinson of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Coach Dungy always stresses competition for any position, including quarterback. Regardless of what the pundits say the outcome will be, how do you think you would handle the situation if Shawn King or Ryan Leaf were to win the starting quarterback position this coming fall?
Brad Johnson: I think you have to look throughout my career at who I've played with: Rich Gannon, Wade Wilson, Warren Moon, Jim McMahon, Randall Cunningham, Sean Salisbury, Gino Toretta, Andre Ware, Jeff George, Rodney Peete, Casey Weldon… I've been through about 20 different quarterbacks, a few Hall of Famers. I've been through competition and I understand what that's all about. I feel like I've always fared pretty well. I'm confident being here in Tampa and I'm excited about the opportunity.
Bob Chubb of Tampa, Florida: What are your main memories from playing against the Bucs?
Brad Johnson: It was always a dogfight. There were a couple of games that we won 10-6 or … last year we won 20-17 in an overtime game. It was always a game that was going to come down to the end. For me, facing the defense led by Warren Sapp, (Derrick) Brooks, (John) Lynch – just a very tenacious type of team, a team that would never give up. It was a team that, when you started beginning your preparations to play them during the course of the week, it always stepped up your level of intensity during practices. You knew you were going to have a tough, tough ballgame. I have a lot of respect for these guys. That was a big reason why I wanted to come down here and play with them.
Paul of Swindon, United Kingdom: Having seen you play for the London Monarchs, how much do you think you gained from the World League and what would you say is your favourite memory of those days?
Brad Johnson: I played in the World League with London in '94 and '95, and at that time I really didn't have that much NFL experience. I needed time to play, a chance to go make plays, a chance to make mistakes without the pressure of the NFL. I feel like it was one of the best decisions I made, to go over there and play, and it was an awesome experience. It wasn't like you were playing with Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel or Jeff Christy, those types of guys. It was a different level, but it was very competitive. I feel like it improved my game and it has kind of carried over until today.
Charles Gold of Tampa, Florida: One of the impressive qualities of the Tampa Bay Bucs is their commitment to the community. Have you considered what you might be participating in locally? Or are there programs that you already have in place that you will be expanding to our community?
Brad Johnson: In Minnesota, I had a lot of different things going on. I was there for seven years and I kind of built up a good foundation of where I was in the community. I did a lot of things with the Children's Miracle Network, did a couple different golf tournaments and bowling tournaments. A lot of times, we'd have about 100 kids come in from the Children's Miracle Network for a day of meeting some of the players, doing different events, visiting different hospitals. Washington, I wasn't there very long and I just kind of did school-type things and different shelters.
Here, I'm kind of getting my feet wet. I've only been here a few weeks. I'm going to do a reading program here in town. I'm kind of looking for a certain charity-type of activity to be involved with. I'll probably make those decisions over the next couple of months.
Shannon of St. Petersburg, Florida: Setting aside the usual 'We have to win it one game at a time' line, how realistic do you think it is to think in terms of the Super Bowl with a first year offensive coordinator and a new quarterback?
Brad Johnson: That's a neat question. I think it can be done. The reason why I say that is, if you look at the last two years, especially with what St. Louis did, you had an inexperienced player in Kurt Warner, who had no NFL experience. He came in and they won a Super Bowl and he had an MVP-type season last year. You had Trent Dilfer going to Baltimore and learning a new system as a backup. Both of those you had a little bit different situation because the system was already in place, but you had different quarterbacks come in there.
For me, I've had NFL experience and I've played well. Clyde Christensen has been in the league for a few years and I feel like he has a great understanding of this system. I think how he handles players is the key for him and he's great with people. He's a people person. I'm looking forward to it. The ingredients are here. The biggest thing is to stay healthy and go out there and make plays. You hate to say it, 'one game at a time,' but the Super Bowl is six months away. Right now, you go through the process of the draft, free agency, just getting used to the system and building up to the first game in September.
(NOTE: To read the transcript and link to the video of the first half of Johnson's Your Turn interview, please click here.)