Since 2011, Detroit Lions’ WR Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with 5,094 receiving yards and 113.2 yards per game. He is the only player in NFL history with 5,000 receiving yards in three-year span.
Johnson is a great player, no question. He stands 6’5, weighs 235 lbs and is a threat to score from any part of the gridiron. He has had some monster games this season, including one in which he racked up 329 yards, but there have been times this year when Johnson has been held in check.
What many do not know is that Johnson has been managing a knee problem all season. He has the knee drained regularly and missed the Week 5 loss at Green Bay after getting injured vs the Bears in Week 4. Johnson tweaked the knee again in the 40-10 rout of the Packers on Nov.28. Since then, Megatron has not been himself.
Last Monday, Megatron has six grabs for 98 yards but had two huge drops, including one on the crucial two-point conversion late in the game. Two weeks ago, in the snow in Philadelphia, Johnson had only 3 catches for 52 yards. The injury has seemed to level him.
Toss in the troubles that have befallen Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford and the Giants actually have a chance at success vs this Lions’ powerful passing game.
Who will draw the assignment of trying to cover Johnson this Sunday? It doesn’t really matter because when right, Megatron can be an unstoppable force. He was asked if he was familiar with the Giants’ secondary.
“I’m bad with pronouncing the names,” said Johnson this week. “Amukamara (butchers the pronunciation) is more of a physical guy. I know they have some injuries back there in the secondary this season. I think Webster is out. McBride is going to be on the outside over there. They’re going to present some challenges for us, but I think we can find some openings there in the secondary and get the ball moving.”
He’s right about most of that. Prince is the biggest of the Giants’ corners (6’0″, 207) and will probably be the one to line up against Johnson the most this week. But he won’t be put out on an island. The Giants will be sure to have at least three eyeballs on Johnson, who has been targeted on 53% of the Lions’ pass plays.
“We’ll do some things that we’ll have to do,” said Tom Coughlin when asked how he planned to defend Johnson. “We’ll try to prepare ourselves that way. I’m not saying what we’re going to do, but it’s a good question.”
“That’s to be determined. We might throw Trumaine on him,” said S Antrel Rolle. “You never know what the game plan is. It all will be revealed come Sunday, though.”
Prince knows that even if the Lions shuffle Johnson around, he’s still going to be lined up against him on plenty of plays:
“I think our coaches have a great gameplan going into this week and Calvin Johnson, he does flip side to side, so I do anticipate matching up with him.”