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Could someone offer a rational, even-handed analysis...

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by jem88, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. jem88

    jem88 Active Member

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    on Al Johnson's performance this year? I haven't been able to see all the games and haven't been able to record the ones I have seen. So it's been hard to get a fair assessment of his play. I know a lot of people have been slamming him but can someone with a cold calculating eye (Adam? Hostile? Brainpaint? dbair? Juke? LTN?) give me the real lowdown?
  2. Fletch

    Fletch To The Moon

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    Nothing spectacular for sure. Has been prone to getting manhandled by bigger DT's and has had some problems with snap exchange with Drew Bledsoe.

    But the positives are that he rarely makes mistakes and Parcells seems to still like the guy. Hopefully Al Johnson will improve as the year goes on. I believe he still has a high ceiling that has yet been reached.
  3. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I guess I would say he has been up and down...there are times he does well and he has alot of mobility for a C, but there are also times he gets over-powered..I'd say he's been adequate in pass protection, but is sometimes a liability as a run blocker...its only his 2nd yr as a starter so he definitely could pan out into a more than capable starter, but in my opinion he hasnt been as good this yr as last yr

    David
  4. HDC

    HDC New Member

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    Parcells says his play has been good, he makes few mistakes, he uses good technique, etc. On the other hand, he says Johnson isn't as big as he would like, he isn't going to gain size, etc. When he plays ok, you don't notice him. He sometimes gets pushed back by bigger nose tackles. I notice this far more often than I notice him making a block that really makes a play go.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    He did not seem to have the problems getting bull rushed last year- this year he has been knocked back into the backfield on several occasions. The sad fact is that he has almost certainly reached the limit of his ability to get stronger and bigger, so its not going to improve. He may be able to learn leverage and such to help out, But I question how much more he can improve. If there are going to be more 3-4 teams out there with big NT's, he will become a liability. If the trend towards more 3-4 continues, he will need to either substantially improve or be replaced.
  6. Everlastingxxx

    Everlastingxxx All Star

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    Next time you watch a Cowboy game, look for the guy laying on his back - that’s Al Johnson.
  7. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    He could be worse
  8. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Jem I think in the critical areas of intelligence and agility Al is ahead of the learning curve for a player essentially in his second year. He seems to recognize defensive formations and make the calls fast enough. He has to understand his assignments and that of the other linemen to make calls. There have been a spate of snap miscues but apparently they were not on him, and he is not penalty prone.

    His strength is somewhat of a concern but he also has the ideal height and leverage to compensate...it's gravy if any center can handle a nose one on one, most cannot, and sliding the line to counter a nose occurs everywhere. His technique I can't comment on, but I suspect it is par for the course for a player with his experience.

    My feeling about Al all year is he suffers from the overall schizophrenia of the line. Al was noted at draft time as a pulling center overall and he is physically suited to sweeps, screens...not all of the rest of the the line is. A zone blocking line might suit him better..I don't know, but I do feel his major talent is largely wasted now - and that is his agility. Alongside linemates with equal agility, he might look much more impressive.

    The other issue effecting him is how teams play Bledsoe, which historically has been up the middle. Luckily Al has LA and Rivera to each side, but their help also has to slide out to help the young tackles. I suspect the actual speed with which decisions are made on that line could be better, but bottom line is Al is at the point of attack of any defensive coordinator who wants to get to Bledsoe, and I do not think he has done badly at all.
  9. AdamJT13

    AdamJT13 Salary Cap Analyst

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    Thanks for that rational, even-handed analysis. Johnson has been knocked on his back what -- one time this season? And that was on a blitz when his feet got tangled up. Andre Gurode got knocked backward as many times against Detroit as Johnson did, and Gurode was on the field for only one series.

    There's no question that Johnson is the best center on the team. He's above average as a pass-blocker (no sacks allowed this year, only half a sack allowed last year), but average or a little below-average as a run blocker. He's good to very good when he pulls or goes out to block a linebacker, but he often doesn't get much of a push when he blocks linemen. And he doesn't make mental mistakes.
  10. fortdick

    fortdick Well-Known Member

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    Great assessment LTN!
  11. MinnesotaCowboy

    MinnesotaCowboy Member

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    Excellent read, Adam........couldn't have said that better myself! :D
  12. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    He seems pretty steady to me for the most part. But, when teams know that the Cowboys are going to run, he often gets manhandles. Seems to pull really well, especially to his right.

    I look at centers who get picked in the second round as being guys that should be the best or one of the best at their position and thus I think Dallas is getting 4th round value out of him instead of 2nd round value.

    Assuming that Pettiti continues to get better along with Tucker and Columbo gets healthier and better, I think Dallas will go after a player that played guard and center well in college in the first round of the draft as Rivera and Allen are both 33 years old and there are some deficiencies in Johnson's play that could be canceled out with a guy who excels at those deficiencies.

    Rich......
  13. Cowboys&Caps

    Cowboys&Caps New Member

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    the reason he is getting pushed back is that he has a very bad tendency to stand up a bit too much and that creates a situation where he can get wedged up and out by a low nose gaurd
  14. Scotman

    Scotman Member

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    I've watched every game. But, I'm surely not as skilled at seeing individual tendencies as either LTN, Adam and some of the others. But i can reiterate that he does pretty well at pass blocking. When he keeps his arms in and on the nose, he does even better. Where he gets into trouble is when he spreads his arms out either by getting them pushed out or in an effort to stop another player blitzing. As far as run blocking, he doesn't use his leverage to his advantage yet. He doesn't get as much of a push as I think he can. I don't know if he can get stronger or not, but he can certainly use his strength and leverage better as he gains experience. Just my 2 cents.
    Scot
  15. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    AlJ is coming around fine and is obviously not the weakest link on our Oline. Our issues are on the edges at Tackles. Young and dinged.

    Last game Al made a few tremendous pull blocks knocking people out downfield at the second level pulling.

    There are stereotypes associated with AlJ's size that are basically unfounded as Adam pointed out yet again.

    I'm more worried about edge pressure candidly.
  16. jem88

    jem88 Active Member

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    How would you guys feel about drafting the best tackle we can get our hands on, perhaps in the first round? It seems that tackle is where we are vulnerable. Granted, Flo should be back healthy next year but would it hurt to have a top prospect to provide a little competition for Petitti (who I do think has been pretty good)? I just think a dominant line sets everything else up. I know that's a pretty obvious statement, but it bears repeating.
  17. Silverstar

    Silverstar Active Member

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    This is how I look at it...

    Johnson (6-5 296) was drafted because Parcells wanted somebody bigger and stronger at center. Lehr and Walter were really guards who could play center, but Parcells thought they were too small or soft and got rid of them when Johnson got healthy. Now, Johnson is being pushed aside by a stronger guy in Gurode (6-4 314)....go figure. If I had my choice, I would just keep Gurode as our starting center and trade Johnson for a pick next year.



    Rotating centers during the game is ridiculous and I'm totally against it!
  18. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Silverstar, Bill has often said you build a team from the lines out, and you build a line from the middle out.

    I felt in 03 that Al Johnson was more of a Parcells "signature pick" than even Newman and Witten.

    Johnson's draft reports most compared him with Tuna's beloved Kevin Mawae, and that is the style of center I figured Bill envisioned anchoring his line...chief characteristics tough nasty streak, a no holds barred, samrt player...a 'trained pig' really, and very mobile, good lateral movement, great pulling ability...a guy who can lead out a fast tail.

    I think Al is that guy, but the rest of the line is not as mobile as Bil originally planned..look at who else he brought in... Ryan Young was a very agile guy, and obviously Tuna did not expect him to be clsoe to crippled. Bill moved Dre to guard and had it workled out that side of the line would have been a Parcells line. But Al got hurt and Ryan was finished and Dre, as Tuna later admitted, should have been left at center.

    Those three players tho, can at least give us a clue about what Bill envisioned.

    The love affair with Torrin is alot about agility too, not just size.

    I felt bringing in Marco, even at that high price was a stop gap move..protection for Bledsoe up the middle and some mentoring of the young linemen were as valuable as his actual playing skills.
  19. AdamJT13

    AdamJT13 Salary Cap Analyst

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    Johnson isn't getting "pushed aside" by Gurode. If anything, Johnson continues to put more distance between himself and Gurode. Johnson has played almost every snap lately, and Gurode hasn't looked that good when he has played (other than against Oakland). Watch Gurode against Detroit again (he played one whole series) and try to come up with any rationale for why he should be starting.

    Gurode hardly ever rotates in anymore, so you should be happy about that.
  20. lane

    lane The Chairman

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    al johnson is doing just fine and will only get better..

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