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Why It Is Impossible To Blame Craig Johnson For Leaving


Please consider that Craig Johnson is a former college offensive coordinator and longtime QB coach who wants to be a coordinator or head coach one day. But this season made it obvious that Fisher had little regard for Johnson's ability. It was one thing to never consider Johnson for the offensive coordinator role, which Fisher never did, and Johnson did interview for offensive coordinator jobs on other teams, most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999.

But after losing Kennedy Pola, Fisher showed his real estimation of Johnson by dumping him from QB coach to RB coach. Why not make Dowell Loggains the RB coach instead? But here is the best part: promoting Dowell Loggains from quality control coach to QB coach, and then allowing Haggins to call plays when Heimerdinger was ill instead of Johnson. Yes, Craig Johnson's title is "assistant head coach", which is utterly meaningless ... it only signifies a small raise and an attempt to assuage someone's ego in order to keep them from leaving in a lateral move. But Dowell Loggains' title? "Passing game coordinator." Which, of course means that Loggains is the eventual successor to Mike Heimerdinger.

Now Johnson has been in coaching for 17 years, and that includes 10 years in the NFL. What was it like to have been leapfrogged by a 30 year old? To put it another way ... Craig Johnson's coaching career began in 1983. Dowell Loggains was born in 1980. Granted, it can be said that Johnson's not being hired as an NFL offensive coordinator in all this time is an indictment that he is only cut out to be a position coach. Then again, when you consider the makeshift (to be kind) parts that Johnson has had to work with on offense (you all may be a bit familiar with my frequent rants against the talent level at WR and TE, and for much of the Johnson tenure, the RB and OL positions were very problematic also) it isn't as if he has had the opportunity to show what he can do.

Small wonder that Johnson didn't rip the Titans' organization or head coach on his way out of town the way that Heimerdinger did when he left for the Jets years back, and Jim Washburn did yesterday. But next season, when the Vikings will very likely have an accomplished veteran QB getting the ball to all that talent in Minnesota, Johnson will probably wonder why he spent so many years on Jeff Fisher's staff in the first place. He should have got out when his stock was highest, after Steve McNair's co-MVP season, and parlayed that into a lateral move to another staff, or even a college job.

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