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News: DMN's JJT:Man in motion: Cowboys to keep Johnson on move

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Charles, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. Charles

    Charles Benched

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    Man in motion: Cowboys to keep Johnson on move

    Offense has receiver lining up in different positions


    09:32 PM CDT on Friday, June 4, 2004

    By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News


    IRVING –
    Keyshawn Johnson is going to be on the move this season.

    Cowboys offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon is going to have the 32-year-old veteran receiver lined up at flanker. And split end. And in the slot.

    You might even see him in the backfield from time to time.

    Johnson will get his first opportunity to practice the different things he'll be doing this season on Saturday, when the Cowboys begin a three-day minicamp at the club's Valley Ranch training complex.

    "We're not going to let people take me out of the game," Johnson said. "They're going to be looking for me on every play wondering where I am.

    "We're going to game-plan defensive backs and see what they can and can't do. They're not going to line me up in the same spot every time like the Bucs did."

    Johnson usually lined up at split end in Tampa Bay's offense.

    The Cowboys hope that moving Johnson around will make it difficult for teams to double cover him, because they don't know where he's going to line up from play to play. That should create some one-on-one opportunities for receivers Terry Glenn, Antonio Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.

    "Teams are going to have to honor his presence," quarterback Quincy Carter said. "He's a big-play threat, and he can hurt you on third down.

    "I can see Keyshawn's presence on the field really creating some opportunities for Terry Glenn on the outside with his speed."

    That's because if teams double cover Johnson with the free safety or the weakside linebacker when Johnson is at split end, Glenn is going to find himself with single coverage on the other side if teams use the strong safety as an eighth run defender.

    If teams choose to play the strong safety in coverage, then the Cowboys will have an opportunity to run the ball against seven-man fronts.

    Either way, coach Bill Parcells should be pleased because those matchups favor the Cowboys.

    But Johnson's biggest contribution might come in the slot, when the Cowboys use formations with three receivers, especially on third down.

    When Johnson is in the slot, defensive backs can't play bump-and-run because he's off the line of scrimmage.

    And if they do get their hands on Johnson at the line of scrimmage, he is big enough at 6-4 and 220 pounds to get where he wants to go. Finally, Johnson will give Carter a big target on slants and curls that sustain drives on third down, because Johnson doesn't mind the traffic in the middle of the field.

    In fact, he thrives on making plays in the middle of the field.

    "The best guy in the slot is me – not Terry Glenn," Johnson said. "If they double me, then he's got man [coverage] on the outside.

    "I'm too strong for those guys in the slot, even if they get their hands on me. And if they miss me, it's over. They might be fast, but no matter how much catch-up speed you have, you're going to lose because I'm going to be changing directions at the top of the route, and a lot of fast guys can't do that."

    Johnson carried the ball seven times in his first two seasons with Parcells. He has not carried the ball in the last three seasons.

    "I'm going to get to run the ball this year," Johnson said. "Bill used to give me the ball. The other day he asked me, 'Can you still run a reverse?'"

    "I told him I need to work on the handoffs, but I can still do it. Even if I gain half a yard, it's OK because that's one more thing the defense has to account for."

    Johnson said lining up in several positions won't tax him mentally, because he's always been a student of the game.

    "I haven't been able to put it down like I have for all of these years without studying," Johnson said. "I'm the first to get in and the last to leave."

    Johnson spends hours each week studying tape and dissecting his opponents for weaknesses.

    For each divisional opponent the Cowboys play this season, Johnson will study each game from last season and each game that team has played before they face Dallas.

    Johnson will study the top four cornerbacks and the linebackers who play in pass coverage.

    "I want to know if they're aggressive, which means they want to play, and I have to turn my game up a couple of notches," said Johnson, "or if they're going to stay away from all physical confrontations."

    Johnson, who wants to gain 1,300 yards receiving this season, is optimistic because he's comfortable in Dallas.

    He's playing for Parcells, his favorite head coach. And Todd Haley, his favorite position coach.

    Add Carthon, also a member of the Jets' staff from 1997-2000, and it's easy to see why Johnson is poised to have one of the best seasons of his career.

    "I'm in a comfort zone," he said. "I know if I drop a ball, they're going to come right back to me. I don't have to prove nothing. I can just be who I am."

    E-mail jjtaylor@dallasnews.com
  2. Smith22

    Smith22 Well-Known Member

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    Nice column by JJT. Thanks for the post.
  3. Charles

    Charles Benched

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    Wow. What an Ego

    Everything large in Texas.
  4. dallasfaniac

    dallasfaniac Active Member

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    After the past few years, I don't wanna hear anything about dropped passes.
  5. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    Man, if KJ could play half as good as he talked he would be breaking records all over the place.
  6. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    I still believe the swap of Galloway for Key was a good more for us. And it isn't even close.
  7. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    I agree. KJ needs to shut up but if he fights for the ball and catches more than every other pass that hits his hands he will be an improvement.

    Galloway was simply far too overrated. He was always a threat but it like a running back who can break one at any minute yet fumbles a lot. In the end you're better off with less explosion and more consistency. You cant plan for Galloway's TD's but you had to plan for his drops or else commence the puntfest.

    Joey has a ton more class than KJ and it should count for more than it does but KJ is the guy who performs on Sundays.
  8. genghiskhan

    genghiskhan Member

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    And add Vinny, his favorite QB. ;)
  9. Skeptic

    Skeptic New Member

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    Hell yeah----Irvin's ghost is alive and well in Texas.

    This season could be offensively more fun than we've had in a while--Julius, Keyshawn, Witten. Think about it.
  10. keds

    keds Active Member

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    Getting deactivated last season hurt his ego. I think he's eager to prove he can still play. I have a feeling Keyshawn is going to have a good year.
  11. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Thank you, Keyshawn, THANK YOU!
  12. scottsp

    scottsp Well-Known Member

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    Ego I don't have a problem with. In fact, this offense could use a shot of it. I don't care if Keyshawn Johnson comes in and suffers a royal flameout, doing nothing. This team, this unit would not be hurt at all if a little edge were added to it.

    I'm not a huge Keyshawn Johnson fan per se. Actually, I think he can be a putz. Not exactly newsworthy, I know. I do however like the element of confidence he could bring if channeled properly. I've got no problem with him believing he is still a bigtime commodity. Who am I to say he isn't? He just might accomplish what he says he will.

    If Johnson is the guy he and Parcells feels he is, able to work between the hashes, then he is the shot in the arm our offense so desperately needs. I don't care how slow he might be. There are some pretty salty WRs out there still making a nice living who couldn't outrun a middle linebacker. Keyshawn never was that swift anyway, but he does know how to play the position. He knows how to run routes and he is rather physical.

    Catching the ball more consistently is an area he could improve on IMHO.

    Getting back to the attitude - that edge, that intense nature he brings to the table isn't something that will impede or stand in the way of performance. It might actually challenge those around him in the same manner Michael Irvin's antics were known to do.

    I hope to God Keyshawn Johnson is as brash as ever. I hope that after every catch he is right in the face of a defender, informing them of the fact that there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop him.

    Hell, talk to the press too. He said 1,300 yards? Good. I've got no problem with that. It doesn't even matter what you say. Say 2,000 for all I care. It all goes out the window when they step between the lines. I just like the swagger. It never hurts to have it.

    In the movie Prefontaine, there was a scene in which Oregon's great track coach Bill Bowerman, played by R. Lee Ermey, responded to a statement hinting that this freshman runner might be just a little too cocky for the rest of the team to take.

    Responded Bowerman, "I'd like to bottle it and force feed it to the rest of you."
  13. TwoDeep3

    TwoDeep3 Well-Known Member

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    Keyshawn is no where near what Irvin was. That is a mistake thinking so.
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Happy Holidays Staff Member

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    Me neither - one thing for sure is, Antonio isn't going to be given the same leniency in that dropped ball department.
  15. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    Man, I'm totally with you on that one.
  16. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    Oh, I'll bet you like that. Now your boy (Pretty Terry is what they call him)can stay outside, away from those big bad linebackers and strong safeties.
  17. boss man

    boss man New Member

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    Keyshawn's presence should open up things for the entire receiving corps.

    I think the TE's are going to be huge for DALLAS this season. Witten might come on and have a Pro Bowl level season. I think he is good for 40+ receptions. Campbell is a superb # 2 TE, and this Ryan rookie will displace Whalen due to his blocking skills. And don't forget the obligatory 2 TD receptions for Jeff Robinson!!

    From a WR perspective Bryant needs to wake up and smell the competition. DALLAS needs him to start producing much more.

    I'd like to see Randal Williams score on something other than an onside KO return. I don't think he's ever caught a pass in the regular season. All that speed wasted by those skillet hands.

    Maybe Zuriel Smith will show something during camp, or that rookie FA from NE Oklahoma (Patrick Crayton??).
  18. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I want players that have egos, who think they are the best. Say what you will about Keyshawn but the guy works hard at what he does and does it very well. Over the years he has proved that he is physical enough to go over the middle, take the hit and make the catch somthing this club has not had in a while other than TE. Key just give us 1 more weapon to attack the middle of the field
  19. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Key is just what this offense needs...A big tough, move the chains guy who can also be "Key" as another huge blocker in the running game...Easily a better player then Joey...

    Now we have Vinny who can actually hit him in stride and make plays!
  20. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    No doubt Key makes Vinny comfortable knowing he is teaming up with a go to guy he has had very good success with in the past. Having a tight QB/WR relationship does mean a lot and Key and Vinny have a good history with one another.

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