Philadelphia Eagles News

Johnson's Presence Still Felt

Former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will be inducted into the team's Honor Roll on Sunday at halftime of the Eagles' game against the Cowboys along with former cornerback Eric Allen.

Even though Johnson passed just prior to the 2009 season, his presence is still felt among the current Eagles. In fact, one of the Eagles who lavished Johnson with praise was someone who didn't play for him.

One of Johnson's greatest games as a coach was the 2004 NFC Championship win over Atlanta. Quarterback Michael Vick led the Atlanta Falcons into the contest after dazzling the league with 902 rushing yards during that season. Vick rushed for 119 yards in the Divisional Round win over Atlanta. The question was whether the Eagles would be able to contain Vick.

Vick was ineffective throwing for just 136 yards and an interception. With his legs, Vick only had 26 yards and the Eagles sacked him four times punching their Super Bowl ticket with a 27-10 win.

"I can't think of another defensive coordinator of another team that I played against that I actually went into the game knowing that it was going to be one helluva game," Vick said on Friday. "He's probably the only defensive coordinator, and I can honestly say this and I'm not lying because I've played against some good ones and played great against them, he's probably one of the defensive coordinators I've ever faced and pretty much had a tad bit of doubt in my abilities.

"It speaks volumes, but it's the truth. He did things we never saw before. I just knew I was going to get blitzes from everywhere and people walking all around."

Johnson's ability to torture elite talents like Vick made his players love suiting up for him.

"He's a legend here. Anyone who played with him, we knew what it took to be a great defense and he was a big part of that," cornerback Joselio Hanson said. "He held everybody accountable. He was hard on his players, but it paid off on Sunday."

Defensive end Trent Cole recalled how quickly Johnson's battle with cancer turned for the worse. Like Cole, Johnson had an undying passion for the game of football.

"I think it's a great thing (that he's being inducted)," Cole said. "He was a great coach. I've never met a guy who knew the game like he did."

Johnson's wife, Vicki, will be on hand Sunday for the induction ceremony. The pre-game press conference will be broadcast live on PhiladelphiaEagles.com at 6 PM on Sunday. The halftime festivities will also be shown live on our website.

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