Glue-footed Johnson seals offensive parts together

Improved line play provides time for QB to work magic

Redskins notebook

September 20, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Washington Redskins have scored 85 points in their first two games, the best offensive start for the franchise in 24 years.

So who is getting the credit for this quick-strike attack? A hobbled, slow-of-foot quarterback named Brad Johnson.

"Brad gives you so much flexibility," coach Norv Turner said of Johnson, whose left knee was scoped twice in the off-season. "When you don't call a perfect play, he usually makes something good happen."

With Johnson in charge, a revamped offensive line has surrendered only two sacks this season -- none yesterday -- after giving up a club-record 61 last year. There may be some improvement with the line, but Johnson knows when to make a "hot" read against blitzes and get rid of the ball quickly, unlike many of his Redskins predecessors.

And it's no coincidence that running back Stephen Davis has rushed for more than 100 yards in both games this year. Turner has exclusively opened games with Johnson passing to keep the opposing defenses off balance.

"If you score the kind of points we're scoring, then you have to say you're surprised," Turner said. "But throughout training camp, there was no question in my mind that the parts were there. The quarterback is the guy that brings it together. Everyone is feeding off of Brad right now."

All alone, Jansen stands tall

As the final seconds ticked off, right tackle Jon Jansen smiled and pumped his fist emphatically.

In just his second professional game, the Michigan rookie held feared Giants defensive end Michael Strahan in check. Many predicted that Jansen would need help double-teaming Strahan, one of the game's best pass rushers.

But the much-maligned Redskins' offensive front left Jansen isolated several times as Strahan became a nonfactor with just two solo tackles and no sacks.

"This is round one and we're going to have a lot more rounds this year and years to come," Jansen said.

End zone

Davis became the first Redskins running back to rush for more than 100 yards in consecutive weeks since Reggie Brooks in 1993. Davis tied the club's single-game record of three rushing touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Linebacker Shawn Barber's 70-yard interception return was the 10th longest in Redskins history. It was the first interception scored for a touchdown in two seasons.

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