I've never been one to spend much time on the passing of a friend or family member. I prefer to celebrate their life and hope they discover what they wished for when they get where they are going. That said, two articles I've read today (both linked to from Football Outsiders) are worth consideration in large part of their celebration of Jim Johnson's career as Eagles Defensive Coordinator.
The first is a note from the Houston Chronicle which contains a diagram of one of the blitz packages the Eagles used against the Steelers, after breaking down the salient points of the diagram the author notes:
While this blitz package certainly put the Eagles defense at risk, Johnson understood how to balance risk/reward. The Steelers had to change how they approached protections against A-gap blitzes for fear that more teams would copy Johnson. Sure enough, the Steelers saw the exact same blitz package from another team later in the season, but the Steelers had learned their lesson after being schooled by Johnson.
The other article is written by one of the Football Outsider's main contributors Doug Farrar and was published on hs blog for the Washington Post Smarter Stats. Farrar runs down the remarkable statistical dominance that Johnson's Eagles Defenses have had over the past ten years, but he concludes his piece by suggesting:
My hope is that Johnson's legacy and memory brings more visibility to all great assistant coaches - including and especially to the Hall of Fame voters. Assistant coaches are a woefully underrepresented class in Canton, and this needs to change.
Johnson's name wouldn't be a bad place to start.
Anyway read Doug's post and be marvel at the consistency Jim got from his defenses.
Jim Johnson was never a head coach, he never wanted to be one. Should that preclude his inclusion in the Hall of Fame? Are Johnson's innovations enough to warrant his inclusion into the Hall? I'd say yes, but I'm just a fan. What about Peter King and his compatriots? We shall see.