Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Johnson, Jimmy

Cards: Proset 1989, Proset 1990, Proset 1991, Proset 1991 AP, Proset 1992
Acquired: In Person 1991,1992,1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Coach Johnson would be one of the first autographs that I’d get at training camp at St. Edwards in Austin, Tx. With his trademark hair, Jimmy has an alpha personality, loves the limelight, and signing autographs, sometimes by the dozens in his golf cart before and after practice.

Jimmy has been a winner at every level he has played at. First as a player for Arkansas 1964 National Championship team as an All American Defensive Lineman (where he was a teammate of future Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones), as a head coach at Oklahoma State, and then at the University of Miami where he guided the Hurricanes to its highest level of elite dominance from 1984-1989. The Miami Hurricanes were not without controversy. Dominating the college ranks, the Hurricanes were considered highly undisciplined off the field because Johnson encouraged the players to have a lot of swagger openly embracing the moniker of being the “Bad Boys of Football”. After his tenure with the Hurricanes ended with one national championship in 1987, Johnson would then move on to the professional ranks, hired by Jerry Jones to coach the Cowboys in 1989. (He’d finish his college coaching record at 81-34-3.)

This timing was tough for Jimmy as he was taking over for coaching legend Tom Landry.  He arrogantly proclaimed with Jones at their initial press conference that he’d have the franchise turned around in 3 seasons time- ostracizing many loyal fans who preferred the quiet, professional demeanor of Landry. After an initial extremely rough 1-15 start in 1989, Johnson would begin to right the fortunes of the Cowboys, and winning melts most resentment. By season 3 the Cowboys were back in the playoffs, and won consecutive Superbowls in 1992 and 1993. Johnson orchestrated the most lopsided trade of all time, trading runningback Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a bevvy of draft choices and players. Jimmy had an eye for talent, and while not having the final say on all draft choices, played a large part in locating talent and underrated free agents, signing often Miami Hurricanes that he was familiar with as situational players.

After leaving the Cowboys over personal differences with once friend Jerry Jones, Jimmy briefly retired from coaching, turning to the broadcast booth. He was offered the head coaching  job for the Eagles in 1994, but declined, instead taking over for legendary Don Shula and the Dolphins in 1996, where he’d coach through the 1999 season. Although he’d guide the team to 3 playoff appearances, he’d not move beyond the divisional round and cited burn-out as his reason for retirement.

Since re-retiring Johnson has remained front and center on Fox’s NFL pregame show and the College Championship Series and owns a restaurant in Miami. An extensive coaching tree has formed from Jimmy, including Dave Wannstedt, Butch Davis, and Norv Turner. Jimmy Johnson is also the only coach to win a National Championship and the Superbowl. He’s also done a bit of bit acting, on “The Shield”, “Coach”, and “The Waterboy” and in commercials. In 2006, Johnson was linked briefly to the Houston Texans as a dark horse candidate for the open coaching job, but declined the reports as pure speculation.  Jimmy is a huge fan of the series “Survivor” and was cast in the 2010 season.

Oddly despite his accolades Jimmy has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his coaching accomplishments with the Cowboys.

W  80     L 64    T 0       Pct .555

Bennett, Fred

Card: Score 2007
Acquired: Texans blitz 2009

After Bennett was a two time SEC choice, Fred was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 draft as a compliment to former Gamecock Dunta Robinson. (Robinson was going to mentor him up to the speed of the NFL game.) Unfortunately Fred Bennett got thrown into the fire when Robinson went down with a season ending knee injury in week 9 that season.

Bennett responded surprisingly well, making 55 tackles, 3 interceptions and 14 passes defensed.  Bennett would then start an additional 6 games for Robinson in 2008 (before Dunta returned) grabbing 2 more interceptions and 6 defenses. Questionably, Bennett from other accounts fell into the team doghouse and had to dig himself out by the end of the season, and started only 3 games in 2009, as a new secondary coach was brought in. Caught in a numbers game, Bennett was cut by the Texans in 2010 and was signed by the San Diego Chargers within days.

Zgonina, Jeff

Cards: Fleer Premium 2002
Acquired: TTM, Texans Blitz 2009, C/o Houston Texans

/Scone- ina/ is roughly how you pronounce Jeff’s last name. An ironman journeyman Jeff Zgonina played in the NFL from 1993 to 2009, -or roughly 17 seasons for 7 teams. At 6-2, 285 he played on the interior line as both a NT and a change of pace DT.  Zgonina would play on the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl teams, after bouncing around, but would find his final home with the Houston Texans where he finished out his career after a short stint in Miami. (Zgonina was a fringe player who found himself frequently on the cusp of the final cut, or called back a week later when more room was made and despite his age, didn’t have as much wear on his tires as people thought.)  Zgonina will be best remembered by Houston Texans’ fans for when he recovered a Kerry Collins freak fumble against the Titans in 2009  for a victory. An outspoken member in the locker room, players could expect to hear the straight up truth from Jeff, and he provided guidance for the younger members of the defensive line.

G 219     Tac 308        Sac 26            Fum 13
Int  1               Yds  0       Avg 0.0        Td  0