Larry Johnson got his wish on Friday, some extra playing time to help make up for his disappointing performance against the Ravens the week before. “I knew I needed that second game just to feel a little more comfortable going out there against another tough defense and be able to put some things together,” Johnson said, and put some things together he did.
Johnson finished the game with 9 carries for 42 yards and a fifteen-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass for a touchdown, which certainly helps Johnson’s preseason stats as well as his confidence. But Johnson doesn’t seem to think it had much effect on the coaches’ decisions either way. “I think it helped me out, but camp lasts longer than one preseason game.”
Johnson celebrated his touchdown by dunking the ball over the goalposts, which created an attractive picture for Saturday’s Washington Post Sports section (and video, below) but which might have seemed a bit excessive for the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
But Johnson doesn’t see it that way.
“It was all enthusiasm,” Johnson said, shrugging. “I was doing it in practice and in preseason camp just messing around, and then I thought, you know, time was right to do it. If I was gonna soar, I might as well do it now ’cause I don’t know if I’m gonna get a chance to do it again. So I just did it, because, you know, it’s preseason. Have fun.”
The Redskins running game doesn’t seem to have been having a lot of fun this preseason, averaging an anemic-looking 2.9 yards per carry, but Johnson encouraged fans (and other observers) not to worry too much. “Our emphasis wasn’t on the run as of right now,” he said. “I think they wanted to know who could be the step-up receivers and who was gonna be able to back up Galloway and Santana, so I think that’s what they mostly wanted to focus on.”
When the lights come up on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys on September 12, Johnson predicts that things will look a bit different. “It’s different when you gameplan,” Johnson said, “and obviously you don’t wanna show other teams what your bread and butter packages are, so you definitely gotta go into it with a sense of kinda being sporadic about the playcalling, because you’ve gotta cover some things up that you wanna show against Dallas. I mean, that’s gonna be a big game Sunday night, so we definitely don’t wanna show our hand.”
The gameplanning will be different. The preparations will be different. The roster size will be different, and the significance will be different. But, Johnson said, scoring a game-winning touchdown in a preseason game is one thing that feels almost as good as it does in a regular season game — which further explains his post-touchdown slam dunk.
“If you love playing football, you don’t just stop playing football ’cause it’s the preseason,” Johnson explained. “If you enjoy the game, you love the game, it don’t matter if it’s a scrimmage or you’re playing on the street with your homeboys, you’re gonna show some enthusiasm. That’s all it was.”
Tags: larry johnson, preseason 2010
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