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Brunell, Johnson: A Tale of Two QBs

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A pair of accomplished veteran quarterbacks will meet on Monday night at FedExField as the Redskins host Minnesota in their 2006 season opener.

Mark Brunell and Brad Johnson, both of whom have led the Redskins into the postseason in the course of their long NFL careers, have met twice before and their individual matchups stand at 1-1.

Back on Oct. 22 of the 2000 season, Johnson fired three TDs to Albert Connell to lead the Redskins past Brunell and the Jaguars 35-16 at Jacksonville.

Two years sgo, in the Sept. 12 opener at FedExField, Brunell got even as the Redskins edged Johnson and Tampa Bay 16-10 behind the 64-yard TD scamper of Clinton Portis.

As far as meeting No. 3 is concerned, don't expect a flurry of interceptions by either defense.

Last season as a Viking, Johnson led the NFL with the best interceptions ratio. He put the ball up 294 times and was intercepted on just four of those attempts.

Meanwhile, Brunell attempted 454 passes and was picked off just 10 times in the regular season.

Johnson was 7-2 in his nine starts for Minnesota in 2005 while Brunell directed a 6-1 finish for the Redskins.

Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs said earlier this week that he sees plenty of similarities in the two veterans, particularly that they take care of the ball well and that they're proven winners over the long haul.

Added Gibbs: "Brad does a real good job for them. We think he's quick with the ball and actually hard to sack."

Johnson, who entered the league in 1992 with the Vikings and is in his second stint with Minnesota, said he's been around the league so long he's grown accustomed to facing former teams.

"When I was in Tampa, I played against Minnesota, a former organization, three times," Johnson pointed out. "Also in Tampa I played against Washington, another former organization. I've gone through that transition.

"I felt like I did good things in Washington. The fans and players treated me great there. We were 10-6 and went to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Then I was 7-4 my second season there and the team went 8-8. I gave the team everything I could. I loved playing for Norv Turner and I feel positive about the way things went for me."

Regarding the Johnson-Brunell Round 3 competition on Monday night, Brunell may have more playmakers at his avail than does Johnson, now that Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El have been added to the Redskins' offense under Al Saunders.

Brunell has said repeatedly that one of his primary jobs in 2006 will be to keep all of his team's weapons involved in the offense. He certainly plans to spread the ball around in his 14th NFL campaign.

"We're going to do our best to get them all involved and allow them all to contribute," Brunell said. "That's what it's going to take to make this a successful offense."

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