Johnson takes no prisoners

December 23, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Jimmy Johnson is known for not having second thoughts or regrets.

He has lived up to that reputation this week.

The Dallas Cowboys coach was criticized by coach Bruce Coslet of the New York Jets on Saturday after Johnson called a double safety blitz, leading 28-7 with 5:44 left in the game.

"Why would he pick that time to do it?" Coslet said. "Trying to hurt my quarterback [Boomer Esiason] when we have more games to go? I guess we'll never know."

Johnson, who was sometimes accused of running up the score at the University of Miami, said yesterday that he plays the game all out for 60 minutes.

"I guess I ought to send a memo out to all the 27 other teams that if they try to score, we're going to try to stop them," he said. "I don't care how much time is left in the game. I'd do it again. If somebody would tell me what defenses we're supposed to play at the end of the game, I'd appreciate it."

L Johnson said he was amused, not annoyed, by the controversy.

"I really don't think that anybody has ever heard me complain about a team running up a score on me. Because if they run up a score on a team that I coach, it's my fault; it's not their fault. It's not their fault that they're better. I promise you I've had plenty of games that the other team put up some big number against me, but it wasn't their fault. It was my fault because our team did not play as well."

Johnson said he discussed the matter with his players this week.

"I said, 'Hey, listen, if a game's out of hand and a team is blitzing, I'll put [third-string quarterback] Jason Garrett in.' I don't know if he'll like that, but the players got a big kick out of it," Johnson said.

Johnson won't have to worry about the Redskins complaining Sunday when the teams meet at Texas Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said if the Cowboys try to blitz, the Redskins will try to beat it with a big play.

"It's hard for me to complain about those things," Dowhower said. "It gives you an opportunity to score."

Johnson said he doesn't even like having his offensive players kneel down to run out the clock at the end of a game.

"I think that's as awful a play as you have in football, especially when you've got the other team calling timeouts," he said. "They ought to rule it out, because the people watch it on TV and it's pretty boring. They ought to be trying to gain some yards, but since it's traditional, that's what we do occasionally."

He also defended his decision not to allow Leon Lett to talk to the media after he cost the Cowboys a game against the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day. Lett mistakenly touched a blocked field-goal attempt that should have won the game for Dallas.

"I just think there are some vultures out there that would like to really make fun and make light of it and really tarnish an individual," Johnson said yesterday. "I didn't want to put him through that. Leon's a very shy person. He did not want to go through all that. He was completely torn emotionally. He was very low at the time, and he was in no state in my opinion to let a couple of vultures go there and pick over the bones."

Johnson also disagrees with the conventional wisdom that it's difficult to be a defending champion.

"I don't see it being a major factor like everybody built it up to be. We're one play [Lett's gaffe] from having the same record as a year ago."

NOTES: The deadline for signing players whose salaries for 1993 don't count under the salary cap is 4 p.m. today. Redskins general manager Charley Casserly said he's still talking to the agents for several players, including Ray Brown and Bobby Wilson, but doesn't know if he'll be able to reach a deal. . . . RB Reggie Brooks, who saw only limited action last Sunday because he missed practice all week while visiting his ailing father, was back at practice yesterday, although he has the flu. The Redskins expect him to start against the Cowboys.

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