Behind Enemy Lines: Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is the last Redskins quarterback to take this team to the playoffs. His reward? A year later he was allowed to depart via free agency. Turns out that worked out much better for him than it did for the Redskins. Washington is on its fifth starting quarterback since Johnson left after the 2000 season. Of course it appears the Redskins finally have their guy. Meanwhile, Johnson won a Super Bowl with the Bucs.

Q: I guess you went to the right team, huh?
A: Things have worked out. I got kind of lucky here. I was real lucky.

Q: Does winning a Super Bowl validate your career?
A: It's an incredible experience and you wish that everyone who plays could go through that experience. You don't understand what it means until you actually win it. For me there's been 37 teams who have won it, 23 quarterbacks and eight [quarterbacks] have won it mulitple times. To be part of that class is unbelievable. In the playoffs a reporter asked me what winning a Super Bowl would mean for my career. I started going into it. I had to stop the interview because I said I don't know what it means. When it happens everything is surreal. And you get kind of greedy and get me, me, me, me, me. But it's really about all your teammates you played with, your organization, your family, your high school coaches. Just the impact that people had on your life. It meant as much to those people as it meant to myself. It's an incredible exeperience. I hope I get another opportunity to do that.

Q: Jon Gruden says you don't get enough respect around the league, does that bother you?
A: I guess that's not for me to say. My goal is to always give my team a chance to win. I felt like I've done that. I've led three different teams to the playoffs. The completion percentage is there, winning percentage is there. Winning a Super Bowl could validate some things. But sometimes maybe the prettiest girl isn't the best girl. I'm not the flashy guy running around and making all the highlights on ESPN. But I do feel like I've played for some good teams and our teams had a good chance to win over the years.

Q: What does Sunday's game mean to you?
A: I went through this with going to Minnesota a few years ago. If you play a team the very next year maybe there's an emotional tie to it. But I have been gone for two years. I've led two different teams to the playoffs. I won the Super Bowl last year. Going back to Washington a lot of the same people aren't there. I think only Champ and Jon Jansen. I played with LaVar, Bruce Smith. That tells you there aren't a lot of guys left that I played with. So the emotional tie isn't quite as strong as if it were the next year. And being 2-2 my thought process we have to find a way to get our third win.

Q: That said, the guys who helped your exit still running the ship, would it be nice to beat them?
A: The change was probably mutual. I felt for me, for what I wanted in my career, I had to go somewhere else. It's been a good choice. They've had good changes there too. They feel like it's a good tie with Spurrier. They found a pretty good quarterback in Patrick Ramsey who could have a long career. The enthusiasm for Redskins football is getting back now. It's probably been a good change for both parties.

Q: Were you surprised a veteran quarterback was brought here after your 1999 season?
A: I don't know if it was a competition thing. I'm very proud of my two years there. I'm the only quarterback who led the team to the playoffs in the last 10, 12 years. I was 10-6 as a starter the first year and 7-4 the second year. The team was 1-4 without me. I felt like I gave my team a chance to win there. It's unfortunate the way things turned out.

Q: What's the mood in Tampa after that loss?
A: It was a tough loss. We've had two tough losses. One to Carolina where we had a chance to win at the end of the game. Then the other night, the way things ended was pretty incredible looking back at it. We've gone through a lot of injuries from the other night. We have guys who have to step up who were backups for us. We need to get our third win. Our focus is to have a good week of practice, be prepared and play like we have in all four games but find a way to win the end.

Q: What things can you do because you're in your second year in this system?
A: Last year we got off to a sluggish start. The offensive line got better. The last 11 games that I started we averaged over 28 points a game. We peaked as the year went on. This year we've done a great job in protection schemes. We only have one sack. We're scoring points, making long drives. Our biggest fault is that we're having too many penalties, from offsides to holding to personal fouls. Which really put us in bad situations. But our line is playing great and we feel comfortable in the system compared to last year early in the system.


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