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News: Mosley: Al Johnson Plans to Lead by Example

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Al Johnson: 'I plan to lead by example' 01:38 PM CDT on Saturday, June 26, 2004

    By MATT MOSLEY / DallasNews.com
    [IMG]

    Cowboys center Al Johnson had just settled into a starting job in training camp last season when he injured his right knee. After missing his entire rookie season because of microfracture surgery, Johnson is now ready to reclaim his starting role. CowboysPlus.com's Matt Mosley talked with Johnson recently on a variety of topics.

    Q: How does the knee feel?
    Johnson: I'm pretty happy with how it feels. I did have some stiffness, but I didn't notice any swelling, and that's a great thing.

    Q: What did you think when you found out Matt Lehr had been moved to guard in the offseason?
    Johnson: I just found out about a week before the last minicamp. But I can tell you that he's looked great at guard. He seemed to pick it up pretty quickly.

    Q: So you think you're going to start?
    Johnson: I'm definitely hoping to start, but there is some serious competition. Gennaro DiNapoli has been a starter in this league for awhile. And I know that means a lot to the coaches.

    Q: Were you nervous about testing the knee during the recent minicamp?
    Johnson: I guess I was a little apprehensive at first, but I ended up feeling pretty confident. It never affected me in the middle of a play. I just don't think it really inhibited me at all. I'm about 95 percent. I do feel it get stiff a little bit at times, but I just need to knock some of the rust off.

    Q: Bill Parcells has talked about how close your are to strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek. How did that relationship form?
    Johnson: I think we have similar personalities. And you can't help but get to know someone when you both spend so much time in the weight room. We give each other a hard time, and I'd say we've become good friends, but we keep the work separate. I still have a job to get done and when it's time to work, it's time to work.

    Q: How does Larry Allen look to you?
    Johnson: He looked really good in minicamp. He took all the reps, and he looks like he's in much better condition. He's also running great.

    Q: Because of your outgoing nature, do you see youself becoming a vocal leader on the offensive line?
    Johnson: When you've got a Hall of Famer like Larry and a Pro Bowler like Flozell Adams, there's no need to be a vocal leader. I plan to lead by example.

    Q: What do you think of the running back situation?
    Johnson: I think ReShard Lee and Aveion Cason are really going to help us. Aveion has some great speed, and Julius Jones is going be solid. And I think Richie Anderson's going to end up getting the ball more than people think.

    Q: You heading out of town on vacation?
    Johnson: I'll head home to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks. I might even get some fishing in.
  2. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    I am more excited to hear about LA than Johnson. I just expected Johnson to fully recover and kick butt this year. LA was either going to continue his meltdown from last year or retire or be traded. Now it sounds like he is up to his old tricks and ready to toss d-lineman around again! Two months ago I expected a draft day trade and was worried about the LT spot. Maybe that isn't going to be an issue this year. :D
  3. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    I'm happy to hear Matt Lehr is catching on to the guard duties. I really want him to remain a Cowboy.
  4. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Al Johnson... certainly a big key to the offensive line.

    I'm anxious to see what he can do.
  5. ghettogandhi

    ghettogandhi Member

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    the Oline Will Be The Strength Of The Offense



  6. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    If the o-line is the strength of the offense, I expect this team to challenge for the NFC championship. That's if the defense can remain healthy of course.

    Because I expect the defense to still be the strength of the team.
  7. All About the D

    All About the D New Member

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    My thoughts exactly, after all the B.S. that was going down between him and The Tuna and am VERY excited to hear that not only is LA in better shape but he is "running better"! Sounds like a good change in attitude
  8. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    I think he sticks. He is solid player. A great backup who is very versatile at all three interior line positions.
  9. NOVA 22

    NOVA 22 Member

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    I'm excited to see how there are at least two known guys at every spot on the o-line. when you have vollers behind flo, lehr behind LA, gennaro, tuckerman, and tucker/rogers, you really have to think that BP will be able to really have a lot of competition, and a lot of depth.
  10. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    but the unit was piss poor last year...........

    I'm hoping!
  11. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    I think he sticks also. It's hard to imagine we keep less than 10 and he couldn't be one of those.
  12. Skeptic

    Skeptic New Member

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    I think a guy named Al Johnson is exactly what we need to put some pep back in the OL.

    Now if we can just sign Dan *****, we're all good.
  13. moe1969

    moe1969 New Member

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    I may be reading into this too much but I am a little concerned that he mentioned Cason and Lee first when asked about the RBs. Then he threw in that "Julius will be solid." That is not exactly a ringing endorsement for Julius. If Lee and Cason are leaving more of an impression on him than Julius, we may be in trouble. I know we haven't even gotten pads on yet, but just my thoughts.
  14. Chuck 54

    Chuck 54 Well-Known Member

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    We all hope the O-line will be improved if LA and Johnson play better than La and Lehr did last season, but it's a huge stretch to say it will be the strength of the offense...I certainly hope not...because that will mean that Carter and the receivers, along with Julius Jones, didn't get the job done and we're still looking for impact players at all positions.

    Remember, despite all the hoopla over LA's conditioning and attitude last year, he was still clearly the 2nd best lineman on the squad. Our most glaring weaknesses, as indicated by the coaches and grades were Gurode and Vollers at RT. Those two positions are either going to be manned by the same guys this season or by rookies, with Tucker having a shot at RT.

    No, the future of this OL and any shot at line greatness rests in the hands of Adams, an Aging LA who can be much better this year but will never be what he once was, a rookie Center, a disappointing Gurode or rookie guard, and a rookie RT or Tucker. Let's also remember that they are all 2-3 round draft picks, many thought to have been drafted a little early, and a former rookie undrafted FA. True, you do hit on greatness with those guys now and then, and LA is an example, but do we expect to hit that HR at all 5 positions???

    No, this year's offense, even if we expect the OL to be more solid, will rest squarely on the shoulders of Julius Jones, Quincy Carter's improvement, and Keyshaun Johnson's ability to turn the clock back.

    Personally, I like what we've gathered together in this group of young men on the OL, but we will either be starting the same or similar problems on the right side, along with a rookie C who's never played a down in the NFL, or we'll be looking at the most likely future of this OL which means Adams, the Aging LA, and possibly 3 rookies or 2 rookies and the undrafted and unproven Tucker. I expect serious line problems with blocking schemes and pass protection at the beginning of the year. Not only does it take time for O-linemen to mature and gain experience in the NFL, but it also takes time for a decent OL to develop chemistry and knowledge of each other.

    We may even see our line take a step backwards before taking two steps forward. The strength of the offense, for this year anyway, will lie with the skill players.

    * I didn't mention our TE's above because they played so well last year and while I assume they'll play as well or better this year, it's not a good sign for your offense if your TE's are the "strength" of the unit, (see last season).
  15. odog422

    odog422 Well-Known Member

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    i agree with this assessment, but im of the school that it all starts and ends up front. on both sides of the ball. our skill players must produce, but if there are no holes, if pass protection looks as if its constantly springing leaks, our skill players wont have much chance.

    our offense, no offense can function with defensive players in the backfield with any regularity.

    like you, i agree there will be growing pains. but the fan in me believes well be okay at the end of the day, if we remain healthy.
  16. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Parcells made much last year of the job Belichick did with his oline in New England. The teaching of technique that offset what appeared to be some physical liabilities, and the synchronization of the unit, including the backups, to such a degree a Damian Woody could be lost in the heat of a play off race with no discernable decline in over all play.

    That coaching up doesn't happen overnight. I suspect there will be times this season parts of the line break down, but the rotation looks improved already.

    The best thing, imo, about LA getting his act together, is that Johnson won't be exposed on that left side. I'd prefer to see a rookie center flanked by two very experienced guards. Al will need a little babysitting himself, never mind have to wet nurse Gurode.

    If only Matt Lehr were a bit bigger. With that heart, and work ethic and the sharpness not to make any penalties at all down the stretch last season, he'd be the ultimate Parcells Guy lineman.
  17. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Nice observation Barb.

    I'm not quite sold on the "lets make them smaller, quicker and more agile" as compared to "lets get the biggest we can find and then beatup the other team" approach. But I can be won over.

    Johnson's the key in my opinion to improvement over last year or basically getting what we got last year.
  18. pancakeman

    pancakeman Well-Known Member

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    I don't think his response means that Julius is third best. I think he started the answer with the other two because the current thinking is that we're dangerously thin at RB, so when asked about the position, he's thinking he should reassure everybody about the backups.

    At least that's how I read it.
  19. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Johnson will be a HUGE upgrade over the too small Lehr, who I doubt makes the team this year...

    It was Lehr who was the weak point not Gurode who made some mistakes but was clearly a better player then the lil guy at C...

    While Vollers was getting experence as well as Tucker, they at least have grown and will be improved...

    I disagree that LA was our 2nd best Olineman...at times he was our worst...

    I wouldn't worry about Cason & Lee looking better then Jones...Yet...
    They know the offense and can perform without thinking right now...

    The offense needed to be upgraded and it has...Even if Carter starts, we should be much better...
  20. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    I hear ya , Mike!

    I want them agile, athletic AND mammoth.

    When Dallas drafted Al Johnson, I saw some draft reports comparing him to Kevin Mawae, who Bill brought into NY from Seattle. Kevin is 6'4" and has played the last few years in the 280's. I believe Al is an inch taller, and listed over 300, which of course he's not now due to recovery..but I expect he'll play in the high 280's or low 290s.
    But Mike, just to see Johnson's name alongside Mawae's in the "most like" category was a freaking THRILL for me.

    Mawae was the critical difference Bill added in Year Two in NY. Imo, even more so than Martin. He well earned his Pro Bowls. He is getting up there is age now, but he was astonishingly quick, a true "pulling" center. And brawny, tough, a leader. Capable of handling big DTs and beating LBs. You know the Jets had an 8 consecutive win streak over the Phins from the late 90's thru 2002. Folks always wondered what advantage we had over that really fine Miami D..it was a lot about how Mawae neutralized Zach Thomas. They had a big thang going complete with trash talk, Zach calling Kevin a "dirty player" (HE IS, but not Denver dirty), and Kevin's quickness invariably won out. Poor Zach was on his arse, so fast he looked stunned, all the time. :)

    From what I've read, Bill's "trained pig" has the same type mean streak, same toughness, same agility. He isn't going to make the same immediate impact an already experienced Mawae did in NY, which was allow rookies to look good while they were learning ..see Randy Thomas and pre-knee Ryan Young, ferociously open holes in the middle, pass protect wonderfully, and call the shots for the O, and open up so many trap, pull options with his agility, and power. It was Kevin's repertoire that really upgraded that offense, not just the oline. EVERYBODY on the oline looked good when Kev came aboard.

    Johnson won't be THAT this year.

    But he could get to that.

    Bill's said, you build a team from the lines , and from the interior lines out. That's how much confidence he apparently has in this kid - he drafted him at this key position.

    W shalll see,

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