NFL news of October 12, 2002

Falcons backup quarterback Doug Johnson makes no secret of his belief that he can start in the NFL. But he knows that as long as Michael Vick is around, it won’t happen with the Falcons.

So with Vick out with a shoulder sprain, Johnson gets the start Sunday against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J., and a chance to show what he can do.

“There’s no question that a lot of times, all people need is a chance,” Falcons coach Dan Reeves said Friday. “Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, there’s a lot of examples of it.”

Johnson has received plenty of preseason playing time in his three seasons with the Falcons, but limited play during the regular season. As a rookie in 2000, he started two games and played in two others, completing 36 of 67 passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Last year, Johnson played in three games as a backup, completing three of five passes for one touchdown.

Last Sunday in relief of Vick, Johnson led the Falcons to a field goal in his first series but, under the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ heavy pass rush, faltered thereafter in the 20-6 loss.

— Ken Sugiura, Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Start Offers Showcase for Johnson”

Doug Johnson led the Falcons to a 17-10 victory over the Giants in his only start of the 2002 season, but ultimately finished his career with a 2-9 record as a starter.

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