WILL TANK ROLL TO INDY?
In his last NFL game, defensive tackle Tank Johnson's team lost to the Indianapolis Colts. In his next NFL game, could Johnson be wearing that blue horseshoe on his helmet, instead of in his rear end?
This is pure speculation on our part, but we would not be surprised -- at all -- to learn in the not-too-distant future that Johnson is the newest member of the Super Bowl champs. By signing him before the start of the season, Johnson can serve his eight-game suspension, work his way into game shape, and be ready to help the defense turn it up a notch or two for the playoffs.
Having Johnson waiting in the wings also could provide some incentive for the remaining defensive tackles on the depth chart, following the loss of Booger McFarland for the season with a serious knee injury. NFLN reports that it's a torn ACL. The Indianapolis Star reports that it is a torn patellar tendon. Either way, it's an early 2007 exit for Booger.
Johnson has all of his pro experience in the same defense that the Colts run -- the Tampa Two, a 4-3 attack that relies upon defensive tackles to stop the run effectively, and to pressure the quarterback without the assistance of extensive blitz packages. Given that the pickings are otherwise slim at the position on the free-agent market, Tank could be the best option, even with eight games that must be served after he signs with a new team.
Of course, Tank brings plenty of baggage. But the Colts haven't been averse to signing or draft a **** or two over the years, and acquiring Johnson could be justified by explaining that his release from the Bears was the result of an incident for which Johnson was not ultimately charged.
Besides, the Colts currently are in their post-Super Bowl grace period; if they swing and miss on a guy like Johnson, so what?
One last factor to consider is that G.M. Bill Polian is a short-timer, and might very much want to pull an Elway, retiring from the game after back-to-back championships. To make that happen, and to likewise take some heat off of Polian's $12 million per year defensive end named Dwight Freeney, the team needs some more talent up the middle.
Our guess is that the Colts will begin to discreetly and quietly flirt with Johnson as they also monitor the waiver wire. It has been speculated, for example, that Warren Sapp might be cut by the Raiders. If Sapp or some other veteran who would upgrade the talent at the position in Indy becomes available, then Tank might not be the guy. If that doesn't happen, Tank could end up rolling into Indy.