Bucs' QB Brad Johnson Eager to Play at Camp

July 30 – Tampa Bay held and completed their first day of training camp practices on Monday, but new QB Brad Johnson will have to wait a few days to make it through his first. While Johnson patiently waits for the stitches in his knee to dissolve, he shared some of his observations from his first day at Buccaneers' training camp.

Tampa Bay is anxiously awaiting QB Brad Johnson's debut behind center at training camp, but while the stitches in his leg dissolve over the next couple of days, all the Bucs' new quarterback can do is watch.

"I'd rather be out there-especially the first day," said Johnson. "It's just unfortunate timing. Fortunately for me, it was nothing major and I will only have to miss a few days of practice."

Johnson hopes to return to practice sooner than expected. Some had hinted that Johnson would miss this week and possibly next week's practices, but he hopes to suit up in the next few days.

"They're going to take a look at me Wednesday," said Johnson. "Stitches usually take about 10-14 days to come out, just depending. So I hope to have these stitches out in the next few days."

Johnson indicated today that the Bucs are holding him out as more of a precaution than anything else. In fact, if Tampa Bay were playing a game today, Johnson says he would be playing.

"If we were playing a game today, I'd play," said Johnson. "The biggest thing right now is to not let it get infected."

Although he suffered his leg injury while moving furniture at his home in Tallahassee, and has since received several different moving company's phone numbers from his fellow teammates, it did not stop Johnson from joining and observing his teammates as they conducted their first training camp of the 2001 season. Johnson liked the effort he saw.

"I like the way these guys work," said Johnson. "This system has been implemented throughout the spring and mini-camp, so everyone is familiar with that. I think it's obvious to everyone that theirs is a lot of talent out there. It's just a matter of everyone lining up right, not making silly mistakes and taking care of the football."

From his spring workouts with the Buccaneers, Johnson feels like he just might be the final piece to a puzzle that has been in the works for six seasons.

"I feel like I can help this team," said Johnson. "Some of the things they do and the way I play is a good fit for both of us. That's the main reason I came down here."

Johnson described some of the things he liked most about himself and new offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen's tweaking of the Bucs' offensive system.

"I'm a high completion percentage type thrower," said Johnson. "They use a lot of play-action type of passing game. There's the quick game, the three-step and there are times when you take your deep throws.

"I've always spread the ball around to a number of different players, and here, there are so many guys that are weapons. There a lot of mismatches with Warrick (Dunn), Mike (Alstott) and the receivers are explosive and can make plays. That is where I think I fit in best with this team is because I get the ball to a lot of different players."

Johnson expressed his excitement about playing with some of the stars on the Bucs' offense, but after his workouts at One Buc Place this spring, WR Keyshawn Johnson seems to have caught Brad's attention the most.

"I'm excited to play with Keyshawn," said Johnson. "Keyshawn is obviously very big and physical. He's not going to let your ball get intercepted. He can make catches with defenders on him. I had a great time with him this spring as far as throwing with him. I feel very comfortable with him. You can throw up the ball with him. There's not many receivers you can take your chances with, but he is one of them."

While Johnson waits for his stitches to dissolve, he will continue to study his playbook and learn Tampa Bay's offense. But Johnson feels he has a good grasp on the Bucs' offense. Johnson says he is ready to apply what he has learned by seeing some live action.

"I feel good with the system," said Johnson. "I think now, it's all a matter of getting those reps and actual game time."

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