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Redskins’ Secondary Well Aware Of Andre Johnson

Posted Sep 4, 2014

The Washington Redskins on Sunday open up their season against the Houston Texans, who feature seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson.

The Washington Redskins’ secondary is well aware of the challenge that awaits Sunday when they open up their season against the Houston Texans, who feature seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson is coming off another monster season in 2013, when he played in all 16 games and caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns.

This season will be Johnson’s first under rookie head coach Bill O’Brien, who said this week that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will be his starter on Sunday over Ryan Mallett, who was recently acquired via trade from the New England Patriots.

“You’re talking about an All-Pro, Pro Bowl-caliber player who’s done it time and time again,” veteran Redskins safety Ryan Clark said of Johnson. “So for us, it’s trying to see how he’ll be used in this new system, what kind of chemistry (he has) with whatever Ryan is playing quarterback — whichever one they figure to start — and understanding how we have to play him.”

Recent history shows how dangerous of a weapon Johnson can be against the Redskins.

In 2010, the Redskins were clinging to a 27-20 lead with 2:03 left in the game when then-Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, on fourth down, found Johnson 34 yards away in the FedExField end zone for the touchdown.

The Texans would tie the game on the extra-point attempt, and won it in overtime with a Neil Rackers 36-yard field goal.

Johnson finished that game with 12 receptions for 158 yards and that aforementioned touchdown.

He’s made a habit of providing moments just like those throughout his entire career, which has included 154 regular-season games, 927 receptions, 12,661 yards and 61 touchowns.

Over that span, Johnson has been named to seven Pro Bowls and been selected First Team All-Pro two times (in 2008 and 2009).

On Sunday, the Redskins will lean on veteran experience to try to neutralize Johnson. Duke Ihenacho — a safety who was claimed on waivers by the Redskins this week — started 17 games for the Denver Broncos a season ago, and said he got a up-close look at Johnson’s abilities when the Broncos and Texans held joint practices together.

“He’s been doing it for so long,” Ihenacho said. “He’s one of the greatest receivers of all time, and I had the opportunity to practice against him when I was in Denver, and you see how talented he is, and he’s still got it.”

The Redskins know stopping Johnson won’t be easy on Sunday, but they’re excited to be opening their season with a challenge.

“He has a bunch of touchdowns, bunch of catches, bunch of yards,” Ihenacho said. “He’s real physical, real fast, real smart and he goes about his business and is really consistent.”

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