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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Johnson Works Old Magic on New Dolphins

NEW YORK -- When Jimmy Johnson took over in Miami, he fired 24 of Don Shula's high-priced Dolphins and added 24 of his own, many of them no-names. Two games into the season, he's 2-0.


Johnson's success demonstrates one thing -- if he and Jerry Jones hadn't had the decade's loudest clash of egos, the Cowboys would have already won four straight Super Bowls and be heading for five.


The Cowboys have managed to stay on top because of their stars -- Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, the suspended Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.


But their depth keeps dwindling, in part because they've lost 22 of their supporting cast to free agency over three years; and in part because the three drafts since Johnson left have produced only one quality player, guard Larry Allen.


Jimmy's draft in Miami this year has produced a half-dozen instant contributors -- defensive lineman Daryl Gardener; running backs Karim Abdul-Jabbar, Stanley Pritchett and Jerris McPhail; safety Shawn Wooden and, most of all, linebacker Zach Thomas, who in two weeks has 30 tackles.


Although Jones took credit for some of Johnson's great low-round Dallas picks (Leon Lett, Erik Williams, Dixon Edwards, Larry Brown, Darrin Smith), he probably can't figure out a way to claim the Miami group.


The lack of cap room to sign others leaves the Cowboys with what Switzer called before the season, "less depth than anyone in the NFL.''


But Johnson doesn't complain about misfortune.


He lost receiver Fred Barnett, so he's filled in with Scott Miller and Lamar Thomas, another of his old Miami players. He cut Eric Green, his underachieving tight end, and then Johnny Mitchell, signed to replace him, "quit.'' Green asked to come back, but Johnson adapted instead by shifting Keith Byars, who was beaten out by Pritchett at fullback.


Johnson also knows how to con people. Two weeks ago, he suggested the Dolphins would struggle early and come on late as he molded his team. Maybe he forgot he would open against the Patriots, Cardinals and, next week, the Jets.


Or maybe he just wanted the world to know that the Dolphins wouldn't really be ready until Oct. 27. That's the day Jerry and the Cowboys come to town.