'Blindspot Brad' And 15 'I-Told-You-So's'

IRVING, Texas -- Listen, I don't get much right. I've been divorced multiple times, gave all my money to Bear-Stearns and looooved New Coke. But the Brad Johnson Thing? That, I've got right. And always have. From the day they thought of signing him to the day they did to every day in camp for the last two summers to every game appearance he's made, I've gotten it right.

And Brad and the Cowboys have been all wrong.

I touted Kerry Collins in '07, and Dallas instead went with Brad. I touted Chris Simms in '08, and Dallas instead went with Brad. Now, all my Brad Johnson-related nightmares are coming true, the Cowboys are reportedly contemplating scrap-heap options while Tony Romo recovers, and all I'm left with are my almost-two-years-worth of pleading with Cowboys management to do ANYTHING but what it has done. The proof? Here's what I've written for Scout.com, and when I wrote it, about the failed bit that is Brad Johnson:

Oct 26, 2008: Dallas' offense is severely handicapped by being quarterbacked by Backup Brad. The silver lining is that when Nine-Fingered Tony Romo returns in a few weeks, the Cowboys' true problem will be solved. In the meantime, the Johnson-Cowboys gameplan is pretty much based on hoping the other team commits four or five first-down-giving penalties.

Oct 19, 2008: My skepticism about 40-year-old Brad Johnson's ability to make plays over the long haul is well-documented. And now – again -- so is his inability to do so. Not only could Brad not throw deep. … he couldn't complete intermediate routes. … he wasn't even accurate on dump-offs. … Good guy. Smart guy. Nice career. But – as much as I hate to say "I told you so'' – it's been years since Brad last had anything to offer.

Oct 14 2008: As a native Minnesotan, I've watched every game Brad Johnson's started in recent years. Sorry, "Bull,'' but that term in Minnesota wasn't pretty. … and I'm concerned that it won't be this time around, either."Mobility'' and "arm strength'' are not 40-year-old Brad Johnson's strengths. (You think T.O. is displeased now? Wait until he sprints 50 yards down the sideline for a pass that only travels 30 yards.) Honestly, "Brad Johnson's Strengths'' is not a category that takes up a lot of space.

Sept 1, 2008: We would've predicted Chris Simms being on the roster by now. (We first heard the notion in June. Dallas probably should've pulled the trigger then.) Now the Tampa Bay ex is on the street, and Richard Bartel is on the P-Squad, and if you ask us, Dallas is "hanging out'' at this position, as Jimmy Johnson used to say. "Hanging out'' is not, by the way, a good thing.

Aug. 17, 2008: Brad Johnson looked almost competent. Do not be seduced.

Aug 1, 2008: There are things about Chris Simms that people do not like – especially if they are Longhorn haters. But if you don't think Dallas should trade a late-rounder for a young, ex-NFL starter who wants to be in Texas to serve as Tony Romo's backup, then you don't know anything about football. Either that, or you are Brad Johnson's mom, or something.

Or you are Wade Phillips, trying to say the right thing. "Brad understands the game," Phillips said. "He audibles into the best plays. He doesn't throw interceptions or take sacks. Those are all things we can fall back on and feel good about it. He gives us confidence."

No, Wade, he does not.

July 29, 2008: I said this as a native Minnesotan when he was a starter for the Vikings, I said it when I first saw him in a Cowboys uniform, and my spies confirm it now: Brad Johnson – nice guy, cerebral guy, blahblahblah – delivers the ball with such a lack of assertion that I'm not sure he's even throwing with the correct arm.

April 9, 2008: On the subject of Johnson: When he was first courted by the Cowboys, we said in this space that based on talent, it was a mistake. Having studied every single snap he'd taken in Minnesota the previous season, it was clear to us that Brad's arm was dead. … We can urge the Cowboys to replace Johnson with a more capable backup. …

Dec. 21, 2007: Can Brad Johnson throw a ball farther than eight yards?

Sept. 2, 2007: With Matt Moore and Richard Bartel gone, the Cowboys are prepared to go with just two real QBs on the roster. Or, if you've seen Brad Johnson play, make that just ONE real QB on the roster.

July 29, 2007: Brad Johnson may be an insurance policy, but I still say it's a crummy one. His first week has been lackluster at best.

July 27, 2007: Backup QB Brad Johnson looked very shaky in the Thursday afternoon session (picked off by Junior Glymph and Joey Thomas, the cornerback who is off to a good start here) and didn't fare much better Friday. He struggled to find the timing on deep balls and on one little curl pass was intercepted by Kenny Hamlin.

May 13, 2007: Who's Not (Hot): Brad Johnson. I hate to say I told you so about the new backup QB, but as evidenced week after week last year in Minnesota , he doesn't exactly have a lot of zip on the ol' fastball. After watching him throw the ball in 7-on-7 drills over the course of three practices, I can safety confirm that Dallas signed him instead of Kerry Collins and others because of his ability to mentor Tony Romo and to guide him in "managing a game,'' not because they think he can actually win a game. March 6, 2007: Sorry, I'm not a fan of this one (signing of Johnson).

Johnson has a relationship with Jason Garrett, so obviously this is largely the new O-coordinator's call. But I've seen virtually every pass ol' Brad Johnson (who will be 38 when the season starts) attempted last season, and he appeared to me to no longer be able to get the ball deep, to no longer be able to step up and avoid a rush, to no longer be able to serve as even a decent "bus driver.'' It's more than just the crummy numbers (nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions); it was a crummy performance altogether.

I hope I'm wrong (and I trust Garrett here). I hope Brad brings his trademark class and leadership to the locker room as he backs up Tony Romo.

But I also hope Brad Johnson never has to actually play. March 3, 2007: Give me an in-house debate between Kerry Collins vs. Joey Harrington. … The Vikings have released starter Brad Johnson, who fits the profile as a smart, unselfish vet. ... but who last year demonstrated that he can't get the ball downfield, can't move, can't play a lick.

Had enough? Over the course of 19 months, that's 15 very firm assessments of Brad Johnson's failings. What else do you want from me?

This column is not about the silliness of talking about spending a third- or fourth-round pick next year on a QB to groom, as the Dallas paper is now suggesting. (Sorry, JJT, we need NAMES, not vague concepts.) We're also not talking about misjudging Jake Delhomme a million years ago. (Sorry, Ol' Randy. Ancient history.) Nor is it about Quincy, Henson, Leaf or Steve Friggin' Walsh, for that matter.

It's not even about how solid the Cowboys would now be had they opted for Collins (now in charge of the league-leading Titans). It's not really about Simms or Moore or Harrington or Jeff Garcia, either.

It's really just about three things: One, a tiny bit of self-congratulation (yay, I got something right!); Two, the complete and utter inability of Brad Johnson to be among the reasons an NFL team wins a football game; And three, how the Cowboys can stumble about in the dark at this position for two years, how they can even see at all given their blindness regarding this glaring and long-standing weak spot.

CowboysHQ Top Stories