By: Mike Feld
It’s been an emotional two weeks for the Detroit Lions, but don’t expect that to get the best of Calvin Johnson.
The Lions wide out joined Stoney, Bill and Sara for his weekly chat and said that despite Detroit’s 4-7 record, there’s no quit in the Honolulu Blue and Silver – and it starts with CJ and the receiving core.
“I don’t know what the [playoff] picture is, but I know one thing: Right here, with our group especially, we’re not going to stop,” Johnson said. “It starts with attitude from our coach, Shawn Jefferson. He’s not going to let us stop. We’re just going to keep on grinding.”
Megatron did stop grinding at one point this season: immediately after last week’s overtime loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. With the wounds still fresh around dinnertime, Johnson asked his family not to discuss the heartbreaking defeat during the holiday meal.
It didn’t last long.
“I’m came home to the house and said, ‘We are not talking football,’” Johnson said. The next five minutes, we were talking football. So, it didn’t last long. We had to vent about it.”
Johnson and his family have probably been involved in a lot of venting lately. Detroit had two wins against Green Bay and Houston in the bag the past two weeks – and has ended up with two defeats. Instead of having their playoff bubble about to burst, the team could just as easily be 6-5 and in control of its own destiny.
“When you look at the record, you’re like, ‘Dang. We could’ve been in a totally different position right now,’” Johnson said. “It’s definitely an emotionally and physically taxing game, especially the last two.”
Of course, it’s not just the team grabbing the negative headlines this week.
Since Thursday afternoon, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has faced national scrutiny after his foot grazed the midsection of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
Schaub responded by saying he wouldn’t want Suh as a teammate and he’s not worthy of playing in Houston, but Johnson said his defensive teammate is highly thought of in Allen Park.
“Houston Texan worthy? I don’t know anything about that,” Johnson said. “As far as the person he is, he’s a totally different person from when you’re chilling with him to on the field. When he goes on the field, [he’s a] totally different person. That’s how a lot of people should be when you step on the field. You should be focused in on the task at hand and leave everything else at the side.”
Johnson is also certain the leg kick wasn’t intentional.
“What you look at it, what you look at is, ‘What’s he looking at?’” Johnson said. “He’s down, his face is in the ground, his foot’s just flying in the air, he’s falling over somebody. You can’t really say that he did it intentionally. Just because of his history, he gets a bad rap.”
Despite the negative press, Suh, Johnson and the rest of the Lions will get another chance to revive their season this Sunday against the Colts.
But once again, another great playmaker will visit Ford Field. This week, it’s longtime Colts mainstay receiver Reggie Wayne, who has revived his career with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Wayne has 1,105 yards entering Sunday’s matchup
“Haven’t been able to see a ton of a film, but [I have] a lot of respect for Reggie, even from when he was back there with [former Colts receiver] Marvin Harrison,” Johnson said. “You’d think he disappeared, but [Luck] has revived his career. He’s done some great things this year.”
While Wayne’s doing great things this year, he’s nowhere near No. 81. Johnson has 1,257 yards through 11 games and is on pace to top Jerry Rice’s single-season record of 1,848 yards in 1995.
“It’s something that I never thought about, especially leading up to this season,” Johnson said. “I didn’t even know what the mark was before this year. To do that, that would be a hell of a feat and I’d be like a little kid if I ever do it.”