Most Underrated Cowboys: #2

Most Underrated Cowboys: #2

His signing in the offseason produced little more than a yawn and a "is he still playing?" from most casual fans.

2. Brad Johnson
His signing in the offseason produced little more than a yawn and a "is he still playing?" from most casual fans. But make no mistake, Johnson's signing might prove to be the most important offseason acquisition Dallas made.

The first reason for his value, of course, is his playing ability in case anything happens to Tony Romo, in terms of a long-term injury. The Atlanta Falcons have shown this offseason that a team can not have enough talent waiting in the wings. Had they known about Michael Vick's possible involvement in dogfighting, is there any chance they would have traded Matt Schaub to Houston? Of course not. They would have traded him, but they would have demanded a fortune in compensation. As it is, they're staring down the barrel of a season with Joey Harrington as their starting quarterback. Falcons fans have to be as excited about the season as they are about a root canal.

Johnson can still play. He's an extremely smart, professional, disciplined quarterback with a cannon of an arm; sort of like Vinny Testaverde without the AARP card. He has a long-standing reputation for meticulous preparation, and reportedly studies opponents as well as anyone in the league, detailing the tendencies of opposing defenders and their backups. He understands opposing defensive coaches, as well as the players, and incorporates that into his preparation.

Of course, nobody wants to see Romo get hurt. Assuming he doesn't, Johnson still will be a great asset. He has experience in more NFL offensive systems than Romo has NFL seasons under his belt. He can share his experience with his younger teammate. Like any professional, he wants to start. But if not, he will be a willing and capable mentor. In Johnson's case, the phrase "another coach on the field" is more than an overused clich.

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