WASHINGTON — Quite a bit of time has passed since Tre Johnson was bowling over defensive linemen for the Redskins, and the league’s approach to scouting opponents each week could be — and probably is — dramatically different now, each point to which Johnson readily agrees.
But that doesn’t make his on-air revelation this week any less compelling.
According to the former Pro Bowl guard, throughout his nine seasons in the league, players were given dossiers filled with dirt on their upcoming opponents, information they could use to get under the opposition’s skin.
“You got to understand, every week we get this little dossier on everybody — who had a DUI, who had a domestic violence,” Johnson told 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes and Chris Russell. “We got all this information so, if we need to use it, which, I could say we should frown upon, but you know, if it’s a cat you just don’t like or you really need to get in somebody’s head, you know. I’ve seen it done.”
“The team provided a dossier?” Dukes sought clarification.
“Well, yeah, yeah,” Johnson said. “We have all that stuff. We get all that. I mean you get so much information.”
“Is that in page one of the playbook?” Russell half-jokingly asked.
“No, the weekly scouting report,” Johnson said. “The scouting report gives you everything cover-to-cover on everybody. I mean, I’m sure it’s got to be a little more in-depth now with all this social media. So everything cats like now, you guys are into the Twitter, right? Twitter’s your thing? So everything that pops up on Twitter now, our staff would probably just accumulate into into one binder that we’d all start reading, along with the injury report — which leg is hurt, things like that.”
“It’s all fair game. Or at least it used to be,” he said. “I’m out the game a while now. We may have gotten a little more ethical and our social morals are maybe a little more upstanding, but I mean, it was all fair game back then.”
Johnson was drafted by the Redskins in 1994, for what it’s worth, and last played in 2002.
“Why else would you need to know about the DWIs or any infractions if it wasn’t what we’re talking about,” Dukes followed up. “The express written consent of the team to talk smack and get into opponents’ heads?”
“It was never instructed,” Johnson said. “Like, ‘Hey. Use this as fuel for the fire on occasion.'”
“Why else would you get it, though?” Dukes asked.
“It would come in these big, you know, what happened that week or if anything of significance happened to a particular person,” Johnson said. “There are so many people who I will never see again in life right now I know so much about, that I used to play against, you know what I mean?
“Like we kept notebooks on people. Literally. We kept notebooks on people, especially if it was somebody who gave you a problem or somebody you know you could get to. We knew. Especially if it was somebody in our division. We knew who to go at and who to say certain things to. Some people don’t like to be pushed a certain way.
“Some people are of this emotional ilk, where if you do a little something and they don’t see it, they’re going to go off and get themselves thrown out or we get that 15 yards, get this field goal, whatever we may need. I think every professional knows that. I mean, everybody knows that. I don’t think that’s anything new. You ask anybody who’s balled for any length of time at any high level, I think they’ll tell you the same thing.”
“It’s a part of the game,” he said.