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Monday, October 27, 2008
Johnson gives Cowboys best chance to lose


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

At age 40, Brad Johnson has had a very nice NFL career that includes a Super Bowl ring. But to have any chance of winning against the Giants on Sunday, the Cowboys need to return Johnson to the sideline.

Johnson

On Sunday, Dallas kept its season alive despite the fact that Johnson threw for 122 yards -- on 33 attempts. I'm still checking to see if a quarterback has ever thrown for fewer yards on that many attempts. Acting on a hunch, I discovered that former Bears quarterbackShane Matthews once went 24-of-39 for 139 yards, but more on that at a later date.

According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Cowboys may be exploring other quarterbacking options as we speak. A team source told Werder that Johnson "probably" would remain the starter against the Giants, but the team is concerned about Johnson's obsession with the horizontal passing game.

In case you haven't noticed, T.O., Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Roy Williams haven't made much of an impact over the past two games. Yes, I know Williams caught a touchdown pass, but he has two catches for 10 yards now. As Ed points out, none of the Cowboys' downfield "threats" have a catch of 20 yards or more since Johnson took over.

The best thing you can say about Johnson -- and this is important -- is that he didn't turn the ball over against the Bucs. But the Cowboys needed the best defensive performance of the Wade Phillips era to win, 13-9.

This defense isn't going to hold Eli Manning and the Giants to nine points. The Cowboys need an x-factor -- and that might turn out to be Brooks Bollinger. If it were up to me, I'd be on the phone with former Cowboys quarterbacks coach David Lee trying to figure out the Dolphins' "Wildcat" formation. The Cowboys have to explore every option to have any hope of upsetting the Giants in the Meadowlands.

If you trot Johnson out there to face defensive end Justin Tuck and the rest of the Giants defense, you don't have much of a chance. Now, I'm anxious to hear what you guys think.