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Johnson signs with Tampa Bay

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by Hottoddie, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Hottoddie

    Hottoddie Contributing Member

    Jun 27, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Good riddance.


    Bucs Nab Rob Johnson

    Following through on Jon Gruden’s opening pledge to heat up the arms race, Tampa Bay adds the talented and elusive Rob Johnson to the Bucs’ QB stable

    Mar. 9 -

    Jon Gruden likes to toss around footballs, not words.

    A late-February hiring and a whirlwind of interviews, combine workouts and offseason preparations have kept the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new head coach from holding too many media sessions over the past three weeks. On at least two occasions, however, he has made the same noteworthy assertion: he wants a lot of quarterbacks in camp and he wants them to be in hot competition with each other.

    Apparently, those were not hollow words.

    On Saturday, the Buccaneers agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Rob Johnson, formerly of the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, to add to a group of hurlers that already includes Brad Johnson, Shaun King and Joe Hamilton. That gives Tampa Bay three quarterbacks on the roster who have each started at least 20 NFL games, including two who share the surname Johnson. Brad Johnson was the Bucs’ starter in 2001 after signing a free agent contract last March, and Shaun King opened 21 games in his first two seasons after being drafted in the second round in 1999.

    “We are pleased to add Rob to our football team,” said Gruden. “He has a lot of interesting qualities. He’s young, talented and has experience as a starting quarterback in the National Football League.”

    During his introductory press conference on March 20, Gruden turned the spotlight on the quarterback position immediately and foreshadowed Saturday’s events.

    "I can’t wait to get to work with Coach Gruden and his staff. He is a special coach and this team has special players"

    “I’m looking forward to finding more quarterbacks that can come in here and compete,” he said. It will be a position that we scrutinize very carefully and we’ll work to cultivate as many arms as we can in our program here.”

    Then, during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on March 2, Gruden alluded to the competition he intends to foster this spring and summer.

    “That whole process begins March 25 (when) we start with our quarterback orientation school,” he said. “Shaun King, Brad Johnson and Joey Hamilton will all be there, and we’re going to look hard to bring in a couple more arms to make it competitive and make that the lifeblood of our organization.”

    In Rob Johnson, who threw for Gruden Friday morning and delayed his original flight out of Tampa to begin immediate negotiations that evening, the Bucs have found another intriguing option, an intelligent and tough passer with a strong arm and excellent mobility. Johnson was the winner of a fractious quarterback derby in Buffalo with veteran Doug Flutie (now with San Diego) on three occasions – as the playoffs opened in 1999, as the 2000 season began and as the Bills considered their backfield options after the 2000 season.

    Though Johnson never completely quieted the debate in Buffalo, and was released following this past season, he did finish his Bills career with very respectable passing numbers. In 27 Buffalo starts (31 games overall), Johnson completed 60.5% of his passes (401 of 663) for 4,798 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 touchdowns. That combination of statistics works out to a better-than-average passer rating of 85.5 for a team that won just 11 games over the past two seasons.

    Now, he’ll hook up with noted quarterback guru Jon Gruden, who helped turn Rich Gannon into a league MVP candidate in Oakland.

    “I can’t wait to get to work with Coach Gruden and his staff,” said Johnson. “He is a special coach and this team has special players. I look forward to competing and contributing here.”

    Johnson leaves the Bills as the franchise’s all-time leader in completion percentage and lowest interception percentage, and stands second on Buffalo’s career yards-per-pass attempt chart. In addition, the swift Johnson ran 110 times for 732 yards and three touchdowns in those 31 games.

    The Bucs got a good idea of what Johnson can accomplish in November of 2000 during a 31-17 Buffalo loss at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs’ potent pass rush was in high gear that afternoon, sacking Johnson six times and pressuring him on numerous other occasions. Still, Johnson managed to complete 24 of 39 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, repeatedly throwing on the run.

    Last season, after Flutie was released, Johnson started the Bills’ first eight games but saw his season cut short by a broken collarbone. He also missed all but the first few minutes of the fourth contest against the New York Jets after sustaining a blow to the head. Before his injury, Johnson completed 134 of 216 passes (62.5%) for 1,465 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

    In 2000, while still battling Flutie for playing time, Johnson started 11 games and threw 306 passes, completing 175 for 2,125 yards, 12 TDs and seven interceptions. Most notably, he rallied the Bills in impressive fashion to game-winning drives in victories over San Diego (10/15) and Kansas City (11/19). The 27-24 win over the Chargers needed a 99-yard touchdown drive and the 21-17 setback of the Chiefs required two fourth-quarter comebacks, the second of which ended with his own 12-yard dive and scramble into the end zone.

    In 1999, Johnson made only one start, handling a meaningless season finale after Flutie had directed the Bills to a playoff berth. However, Johnson’s performance in Buffalo’s 31-6 drubbing of Indianapolis – 24-of-32, 287 yards, two touchdowns, no picks – was so impressive that the Bills surprisingly named him the starter for the playoffs. Johnson then led Buffalo to the edge of victory at Tennessee in the opening round until the unforgettable ‘Music City Miracle’ gave Tennessee the 22-16 win.

    Buffalo originally acquired Johnson in 1998 by sending first and fourth-round draft picks to Jacksonville, where he was stuck behind Pro Bowl QB Mark Brunell. In his first season in the AFC East, Johnson started six games, five at the beginning of the season before a concussion and an injury to his ribs sidelined him for most of the remaining contests. He still put up excellent numbers, however, completing 67 of 107 passes (62.6%) for 910 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

    In 1995, Johnson was the first name called on the second day of the draft, as the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars made the USC passer the opening pick of the fourth round. In three seasons behind Brunell and Steve Beuerlein, Johnson saw action in just six games with one start, completing 25 of 35 passes for 368 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Johnson left USC as the Trojans’ all-time leader in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, breaking Rodney Peete’s list of records. In 1991, he was the first true freshman to start a game at quarterback for USC in the post-World War II era. Out of high school, Current San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Steve Mariucci tried to woo Johnson to Cal, and baseball’s Minnesota Twins drafted him in the 16th round.

    Johnson flew back to his home in Laguna Beach, California on Saturday afternoon.

  2. Master Baiter

    Master Baiter Contributing Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wasnt all excited to have Rob Johnson anyway. Not that there is anything else out there that is worth a crap but I just didnt like Johnson or how he got sacked every play.
  3. Lil Pun

    Lil Pun Contributing Member

    Oct 6, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I agree with MB, was Johnson really that big of a deal???
  4. Two Sandwiches

    Two Sandwiches Contributing Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Yes we're SAVED!!!!!!!!!!

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