Jim Souhan: Brad Johnson recalls Norv Turner as coach with great feel for the game

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 3, 2014 - 7:55 AM

Norv Turner thrived with long shot Brad Johnson.

hide

New Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner “can work with anybody,” said one of his former quarterbacks, Brad Johnson.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Brad Johnson rose from ninth-round draft pick to Super Bowl champion because of intense competitiveness and a willingness to prepare.

He’s still got it. The former Viking can barely make it down a flight of stairs because of the beating he took as an NFL quarterback. A lack of mobility doesn’t keep him from preparing to win.

“We were playing George Walton,’’ Johnson said. “So I scouted George Walton 11 times.’’

He was referring to George Walton’s sixth-grade football team.

Johnson decided not to coach professionally, so he coaches his son’s teams in Georgia, and helps with the local JV and varsity basketball program.

“When I retired from playing, I decided I wanted to spend time with my family,” he said. “I couldn’t do that if I was coaching. But I can coach my boys’ teams.”

Johnson led three different franchises to the playoffs. He won a Super Bowl. Had he remained healthy in 1998, he might have led the Vikings to another Super Bowl.

New Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with blue-chip, first-round quarterbacks such as Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers. He also worked with Johnson, when the two led the Washington football team to the playoffs in 1999 — “last time they had made the playoffs, before 2012,’’ Johnson proudly notes.

As a quarterback who was both a long shot and a success, Johnson has a unique perspective on Turner.

“He’s one of my all-time favorites,” Johnson said. “He had an unbelievable feel for the game. More important than that, he had a great feel for people — who they were and how they functioned. He could find the strengths of each player.

“If there were certain throws I was good at, that’s what we did. If there were certain plays or reads I wasn’t good at, we discarded them. Washington, that year, had a great running game with Stephen Davis, so Norv built our offense off the play-action throw.”

Turner may be coaching a retread, a first-round draft pick or a lower-round pick next fall.

“He can work with anybody,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of like ‘The Horse Whisperer.’ Norv is the quarterback whisperer. There isn’t a play he hasn’t seen or a throw he hasn’t seen. He’s had great success and his systems carry over from one player to the next.”

Johnson played from 1992 through 2008.

“The game has evolved incredibly,” he said. “When I first got into the league, you could read only one side of the field. Then it got to a point where you could read the whole field, with different progressions.

“Then you would call two plays in the huddle. Then you’d call a run and a pass in the huddle. Then we used shifts and motions. Now the defenses are making checks at the line. Now you have both sides making fake checks.

“The game is so fast now. It’s incredible to me how good these quarterbacks are.”

Watching and coaching his sons has given Johnson insights into why someone like Russell Wilson can succeed so quickly in such a complex league.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close