By: Terry Foster
Calvin Johnson is still a top five player even though his production is down and he went through a horrible case of the dropsy’s.
Any time defensive coordinators spend the off season devising a way to stop you, that makes you an elite player. And if the league copies the game plan to stop you and perfects it, then you become a top five player. That is what happened to Johnson.
Here is the key to stopping the Lions. You slow down Calvin Johnson and you’ve got a great chance. That will be the game plan for the Minnesota Vikings (5-4) as they play host to the Lions Sunday in Minneapolis. The first time the teams met Johnson was held to five catches for 54 yards and no touchdowns. The Vikings won. Now the Lions hope to turn the tables and they need more Megatron to do so.
Johnson is having an off year statistically with just one touchdown. However, if you look at the game closely you can see how Johnson impacts a defense. He runs clearing routes where a corner and safety follow. It clears things out, leaves the middle open and allows opportunities for others to shine. Now we are starting to see guys like Ryan Broyles and Titus Young get opportunities they otherwise would not get.
People are obsessed with Johnson. If they leave him in single coverage he would destroy teams. His biggest problem now is a sore knee. Johnson does not explode off the line of scrimmage like he used to. He might ever be that guy this season.
But Johnson remains big, strong and dangerous. As long as he is those three things he will be an elite player and someone to be feared.