Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Can Count on Johnson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Can Count on Johnson

Article excerpt

On another team, or perhaps at a different time in the growth of

the Jacksonville Jaguars, the preseason numbers of the team's

top two quarterbacks might warrant cries of the "C" word --


Backup Rob Johnson completed 30-of-43 passes (69.8 percent)

for 336 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the

Jaguars' 2-2 preseason. Starter Mark Brunell completed 31 of 61

(50.8 percent) for 441 yards and three touchdowns with two


Johnson's passer rating was 116.0, which would have led the

league in 1995. Brunell's was 77.3.

Should Johnson receive legitimate consideration for the

starting role? Johnson, a fourth-round draft choice in 1995 out

of Southern Cal, doesn't think so.

"That's ridiculous," Johnson said. "I played well in the

preseason, but that's preseason. I think Mark played well. It's

just that he had a lot of drops, a lot of pressure. I think he

threw better than he ever threw in the last game."

Brunell had some of his best preseason moments in the Jaguars'

31-24 victory over the Denver Broncos Friday night. And he will

start at quarterback Sunday when the Jaguars open the regular

season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And remember this about the quarterbacks' preseason statistics:

Brunell worked against first-team defenses, while Johnson's work

came entirely against opponents' backups. Then again, Johnson

mainly was working with backups.

"I don't worry about what people say one way or another, good

or bad," said Johnson, who is more of a pure pocket passer than

Brunell. "Coming from Southern California, the media out there

is pretty brutal. I know what it's like to be on the starting

end. And now I know what it's like to be on the backup end. …

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