Dallas Cowboys: Tampa Bay Buccanneers

Ex-Cowboys QB's body paying the price

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
2:00
PM ET
There's an interesting story on former Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Brad Johnson in USA Today detailing his post-NFL life. Johnson played with four NFL teams during a 17-year career that ended in 2008 after a two-year stint with the Cowboys.

Johnson won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay and compiled a 72-53 mark as a starter, including a 1-2 record when replacing an injured Tony Romo.

In the USA Today story, Johnson discusses the constant struggle he has had with his health.

"I go down one step at a time with two feet. One step. One step. One step," the 44-year-old former NFL quarterback tells USA Today's Robert Klemko. "My 73-year-old dad was visiting and I told my son to help him get his suitcases up the steps. He walks slow and he's got a bad knee. He starts walking and my son turns to me and he says, 'Dad, he walks just like you.' "I never thought it would be like this."


Johnson said he wouldn't change anything about his career or how he played. This one quote from the story jumped out at me more than any other: "Deacon Jones said you have to give your body to the game," Johnson says. "You look at him and his fingers are crooked. His eyes are probably crooked, too. But he's right — you have to give your body."
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys' highest-paid offensive lineman, tackle Doug Free, has struggled this season. He's been penalized a team-leading six times, which include four false starts and two holding calls.

Pro Football Focus, which grades every NFL player, cites Free with allowing one sack, two quarterback hits and seven quarterback hurries through three games.

Is that good or bad for a player who signed a four-year $32 million deal last year?

"We expect a lot from all of our players," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said when asked about his right tackle, who averages $8 million a season. "At times, Doug did a real good job in (Tampa Bay) game and other times he didn't. You could say that for our entire offense. Really, as well as our defense played and as well as our special teams played you can make similar comments about them as well.

"Our thing is we come back in here and try to watch the tape play by play, player by player and put the results of the game behind us and try and learn from the experience. We did that (Monday). here were some good things Doug can build off and some other things he's got to correct just like everybody."

Free should be commended for making a switch in positions. He was the left tackle last season, but when the Cowboys decided to move Tyron Smith from the right tackle spot, Free agreed to the change with no fuss.

On the field, Free has to get much better in attacking defenders and seems to be overpowered at times.

"I think he needs to be firmer," Garrett said. "There were times in the ballgame, the defense end got into him and knocked him back, but there were other times he regained his anchor and sat in there and blocked him pretty well. Being consistent and not getting pushed back into the quarterback would be first and foremost. There were a couple of other things that came up that led to some pressures and some hurries on the quarterback but that's across the board."

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