By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – After spending the first two Detroit Lions preseason games on the sideline as a healthy scratch, Calvin Johnson will make his debut Friday in the new offense, and he looks forward to it as much as everyone else.
How Johnson fits into that new system has been a point of interest all offseason, even to some extent for the wide receiver himself.
“I’m as curious as anybody else,” Johnson said, “but one thing that’s not going to change is the way we go out there and work. We’re still going to go out there and bust our butts no matter what Coach calls, however we fit into the plan. We just want to win.”
Johnson explained that the elements of motion in the offense help him, the other wide receivers and quarterback Matthew Stafford in particular.
“I think for everybody it just helps us see what the coverage is,” Johnson said. “That man follows me over, we’ve got a good idea it’ll be man – most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time. Especially for the quarterback, he’ll know what look he’s getting into and where to go with the ball.”
Fellow wide receiver Golden Tate said earlier in the week that – though Johnson obviously wants to play as much as possible – Johnson’s absence in the first two preseason games gave coaches a chance to see what the team’s younger wide receivers can do. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has called this group the deepest one he has had in his six-year tenure with the Lions, and Johnson agreed with that statement.
“We’ve got some guys really doing well this year in camp,” Johnson said. “Corey Fuller has come night and day from last year, [Kevin] Ogletree’s a very smooth route runner, [Jeremy] Ross doing his thing, he’s strong in there. We have depth, so that’s a good thing for us, guys who know all the positions, so that’s another good thing. It’s going to be tough when that time comes around when coaches make those decisions.”
Johnson has been encouraged by the way those players and the rest of his team has performed in the first two preseason games.
“It’s big,” Johnson said. “It’s very inspiring to see those guys making plays out there, especially last game. First offense went out there and then we came out in the second half and went down and scored again. That was very promising to see. It helps build confidence.”
The differences in the Lions offense will coincide with a difference in how Johnson celebrates his touchdowns. Always one to dunk over the crossbar of the goalpost – a move outlawed by the NFL after Jimmy Graham actually broke a goalpost – Johnson said he will not rebel against the rule.
“I’m not letting [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell get in my pockets,” Johnson said with a laugh. “We’re going to come up with something as a group, I believe. Golden and a couple of the guys were talking about coming up with something, so you might see something from the receivers that everybody might do when we score. You never know. We’ll see.”