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Inside the Numbers: Calvin Johnson

Lions WR Calvin Johnson is going to be a big star in this league. About that, there is no debate. That's why he was drafted second overall a year ago. And he's made huge strides this season, going from a situational guy as a rookie - when it took him a long time to grasp the offense - to being the go-to guy for the Lions (some would say the only such person on the roster).

With Roy Williams traded to the Cowboys, Johnson is now the top guy, and he certainly is having a strong season, ranking sixth in the NFL with 531 yards on 25 catches - he's second in the NFL with a 21.2-yard average per catch - and four TDs. But upon closer inspection, the bulk of this damage has been done in garbage time, with the Lions often trailing big-time early - they've been outscored 54-0 in the first quarter this season - and then putting up numbers against prevent defenses with the game largely out of reach.

Consider that through six games, Johnson (6 feet, 5 inches, 239 pounds) has just four catches for 47 yards in the first quarter. When the score is tied or the Lions are leading (admittedly, a rarity), Johnson has four catches for 89 yards and one TD; when the Lions trail, he has 21 catches for 442 yards with three TDs, seven catches of 20 yards or more and three grabs of 40 yards or more.

In the first half of games, he has caught 10 passes for 186 yards and no TDs; in the second half, he has caught 15 passes for 345 yards and four TDs.

Then add the facts that he will trying to catch passes from a young QB, Dan Orlovsky, who is completing just 53 percent of his attempts, and that bone-crushing safety LaRon Landry will likely often be shaded to his side a bit, and I'm not sure Johnson is going to be in a line for a big game. Detroit's offensive line is fairly dreadful - allowing 24 sacks; third-most in the NFL - and the Redskins should suffocate these guys early and continue what has been a stellar run of pass coverage.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 24, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

First!

Posted by: jogill | October 24, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

First!

Posted by: Devo2 | October 24, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Um - wouldn't one of the main reasons Johnson has those numbers is BECAUSE he had Roy Williams on the other side?

How did he do last week?

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 24, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing double. Either way, Johnson's got nothing on Rogers and Landry.

Posted by: Devo2 | October 24, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Rogers & Landry... sounds like Bluegrass group!

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 24, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

CJ is Randy Moss on steroids. At this point sans Roy Williams, he needs to be triple-teamed on every play.

I'm not concerned about Dan Orlovsky beating us with Shaun MacDonald and Mike Furrey.

Posted by: p1funk | October 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I want to know if Zorn plans to be a bit more "attacking" with his playcalling, is Thomas getting more plays in practice along with Davis?

Posted by: craig2 | October 24, 2008 8:38 AM

From what I've read on the Redskins' blog, Thomas has been looking good. The blogger noted that Thomas was having his way against any of the CBs that were covering him that day. Thomas is improving, I think he'll pay off big time down the strech.

Posted by: TWISI | October 24, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I saw that too, it does seem like Zorn is starting to trust both of those guys more and more each week. I do expect to see a bit more this week, I hope the defense's injuries don't make this game too difficult.

Posted by: craig2 | October 24, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Interesting statement from above:

"And he's made huge strides this season, going from a situational guy as a rookie - when it took him a long time to grasp the offense"

Anyway, back before the draft when he was picked, Sports Illustrated did a piece on him, regarding how the Redskins, Cowboys, and Bronco's were all 'enamored' with this guy. The Broncs offered 2 firsts, a second, and 2 third round picks in exchange for him, and Det turned it down.

Matt Millen...worst GM in HISTORY!!!!

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 24, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I have been very busy trying to much out my home and out my family's life back to gether. You see, I live in Galveston but I did grow up a huge Redskins fan.... Even lived down the street from Joet and was a bouncer where the Skins all used to hang....

So now I offer my apologies. I was 100% wrong about Zorn and Portis. They have proved me wrong and I am man enough to admit it. They have us in place to reach the playoffs and be feared in this league.

Now - back to post-Ike life....

-Wyatt Earp

PS Still witholding judgement on draftees....

Posted by: oldnova | October 24, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

That is what happens when you do not proof read... children take note!

It should have read...

I have been very busy trying to muck out my home and put my family's life back together. You see, I live in Galveston but I did grow up a huge Redskins fan.... Even lived down the street from Joe T and was a bouncer where the Skins all used to hang....

Posted by: oldnova | October 24, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

dang greg, that's a LOT of picks...and like you always say...he may turn into something better than randy moss or jerry rice...then again his position doesn't warrant that much value...

Posted by: dealer1 | October 24, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Lions WR Calvin Johnson is going to be a big star in this league. About that, there is no debate. That's why he was drafted second overall a year ago. And he's made huge strides this season, going from a situational guy as a rookie - when it took him a long time to grasp the offense

But yet you want to blast our roookie wide outs. Maybe you should think about that when you take your next hit towards them. Oh forgot he wasn't drafted by Vinny so you can understand it takes time.

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | October 24, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Will we actually have a sack this week?

Will Rock ever return a KO past the 40 yard line?

Will CP ever break a TD Run of longer than 10 yards?

This could be the week we see it!

Posted by: Rypien11 | October 24, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Wyatt - that was some serious man-upping there. wtg.

I'm so sorry you have to go through that. Hurricanes are NOT FUN!! But they do really help you figure out what's important in life... I hope things get better soon.

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 24, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

deal, when I read the article, I was shocked at Det turning it down. Then I remembered that this was MMillen we were dealing with, and everything became clearer.....Considering the haul that they just got from Dallas, that would have given them the opportunity to completely remake their roster.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 24, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 24, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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