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Calvin Johnson: In single coverage, it’s automatically coming to me

Calvin Johnson, Chris Cook AP

NFL players aren’t usually in the business of publicly revealing their teams’ game plans, but Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has let the cat out of the bag on one aspect of the Lions’ offensive scheme: In single coverage, he’s getting the ball.

Johnson was asked about the Lions’ play call for his game-winning touchdown on Sunday against the Cowboys, and Johnson said that the Lions’ offense when they’re near the goal line isn’t brain surgery: If Matthew Stafford looks over and sees Johnson covered by only one defensive back, he’s throwing it up and trusting Johnson to out-leap that defensive back, regardless of what was called in the huddle.

“If we get that single coverage, it’s automatic it’s coming up to me,” Johnson said.

In one respect, it’s pretty bold of Johnson to declare publicly that every defense facing the Lions can count on him getting the ball if they single cover him. On the other hand, it’s not exactly breaking news: I noted previously this season, when the Chiefs twice left Johnson in single coverage with the Lions at the 1-yard line, that anyone who watches the Lions knows that throwing it up to Johnson is their favorite goal-line play.

But while no one should be surprised that the Lions are going to Johnson at the goal line, Johnson was surprised that Rob Ryan’s Cowboys defense left him one-on-one with Terence Newman on the game’s pivotal play.

“When I went out there I was surprised,” Johnson said of seeing only Newman on him. “I knew it was coming from the get-go.”

And every defense that faces the Lions from here on out should know it’s going to Johnson if they single cover him.

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62 Responses to “Calvin Johnson: In single coverage, it’s automatically coming to me”
  1. rodgersrodgersheisking says: Oct 6, 2011 3:55 PM

    He was triple covered on his first TD and he still scored. The man is a monster.

  2. redskinspike says: Oct 6, 2011 3:57 PM

    On the other hand, it’s not exactly breaking news: I noted previously this season, when the Chiefs twice left Johnson in single coverage with the Lions at the 1-yard line, that anyone who watches the Lions knows that throwing it up to Johnson is their favorite goal-line play.
    __________

    You always love giving yourself a nice little jerk off when something comes up that you’ve said in the past.

  3. rowdymon says: Oct 6, 2011 3:58 PM

    I’d throw it to him when he’s double covered too.

  4. jhart615 says: Oct 6, 2011 3:59 PM

    it used to be fitzgerald, then it was andre, but now calvin johnson is hands down the best receiver in the NFL.

  5. davikes says: Oct 6, 2011 4:00 PM

    Of course it is. The only question is why teams single cover him at the goal line. Apparently CJ is a better receiver than Rob Ryan is a defensive coordinator.

  6. bmorelikeme says: Oct 6, 2011 4:00 PM

    And half the time when hes double covered

  7. rtl1984 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:01 PM

    Stud

  8. southpaw2k says: Oct 6, 2011 4:01 PM

    Pffft…like that kind of info actually is helpful to opposing defenses.

  9. carranomx says: Oct 6, 2011 4:03 PM

    Sounds like he needs to be renamed Egotron!

  10. sonvar says: Oct 6, 2011 4:04 PM

    As if this wasn’t really known

  11. transam7816 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:06 PM

    Would love to see Lions vs Jets

  12. omegalh says: Oct 6, 2011 4:07 PM

    1 catch 13 yards versus D. Revis. Optimus Prime can single anyone.

  13. pooflingingmonkey says: Oct 6, 2011 4:07 PM

    Amazing how Detroit has suddenly become such a dangerous team! It’s cool to see this perennial loser turn things around.

    Johnson… well, he’s just a rare talent.

  14. thejuddstir says: Oct 6, 2011 4:07 PM

    What’s so funny about this is that everyone in the freakin’ country knew it was going to Calvin Johnson………….except Rob Ryan!!! Guess that makes the rest of us qualified to be a DC…but on second thought, why stop there as there is another person in Dallas who thinks he’s a football guy/headcoach, ain’t that right Jerrah!!!

  15. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:07 PM

    He can say that. Not like they can do anything about it. Even if you roll coverage last second, it leaves Burleson and Pettigrew open. GOOD LUCK.

  16. schmitty2 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:08 PM

    Could be a long night for ol “Peanut” Tillman

  17. deviantfate says: Oct 6, 2011 4:10 PM

    LOL and they’ll still have to do it occasionally because there’s only 11 guys.

    I have CJ on my fantasy team, WOOT!!!

  18. thejuddstir says: Oct 6, 2011 4:11 PM

    Just like his big mouth brother Rex, Rob Ryan will stay out of the limelight until at least a week has gone bye before he opens his yap and makes another asininie statement/prediction. One thing about the Ryan brothers, no matter how many times they embarrass themselves with idiotic statements/claims, they keep coming back for more!! Kinda reminds ya of the boy who cried wolf!!!!!!! Now if we could just get the freakin’ media to quit giving these idiots any ink or air time until they actually accomplish something.

  19. yzguy431 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:12 PM

    coaches have to love this type of talk.

  20. murraychadwick says: Oct 6, 2011 4:12 PM

    best part about this is that eventhough he said it, it was no surprise. i don’t think he was letting the cat out of the bag, if defenses decide to double him at the goal line that is just going to open the door up for another player. genius to say this publicly. now defenses aren’t going to know what to do.

  21. Ted Skroback says: Oct 6, 2011 4:14 PM

    COOL STORY! No one that watches the Lions could ever figure that out! just go back to bashing the Lions overhyped team MDS

  22. kevbarnett says: Oct 6, 2011 4:15 PM

    With Johnson getting the majority of attention from opposing teams secondaries it should mean big things for Titus Young once he gets more comfortable in the passing game. With his speed he should be able to beat most NFL corners on a straight fly pattern.

  23. thejuddstir says: Oct 6, 2011 4:16 PM

    omegalh says:
    Oct 6, 2011 4:07 PM
    1 catch 13 yards versus D. Revis. Optimus Prime can single anyone.

    ————————————- omegalh must’ve missed the stats from last year where it showed that the majority of the time Revis has help over the top and that it is only like about 30% of the pass plays that he is one-on-one. Of those plays, it’s even less that he is covering the other teams best wr, Rex needs to protect him to “pad his rep”. Earlier this week Rex came out and said that Revis would be covering Ocho Cinco in the Pats game…..WOW, Ocho has what, 2 catches for the year. Rex claimed that it would be too hard on Revis to try and cover Welker

  24. klunge says: Oct 6, 2011 4:18 PM

    Schwartz would kill him if he actually revealed any real game strategy or anything. In fact this is probably part of the game plan, to ensure he’s double- or triple-covered, because now there are actually other receiving threats on the team. Pettigrew, Burleson, Young, Scheffler will be left open.

    The only way a CB can defeat him is interference, but pretty sure on one of the TD’s he caught at Dallas they tried that & were flagged but it was a TD anyhow. So even that doesn’t always work. When it does prevent a catch you’re only deflating his stats, still giving up all the yardage.

  25. supashug says: Oct 6, 2011 4:18 PM

    all decent receivers get double covered. Ryan is just a boob and had to try and stick to his dumb ass comments about CJ. Both Ryans do this crap…it seems not to work.

  26. colinsnooks says: Oct 6, 2011 4:21 PM

    I read PFT too much. From the the comments, it seems like this guy and Aaron Rodgers are the only NFL players that actually deserve to be in the league. So much hate for every other player – it’s awesome.

  27. cereal blogger says: Oct 6, 2011 4:22 PM

    Sounds like something the transformer Megatron would say

  28. 808raiderinparadise says: Oct 6, 2011 4:26 PM

    What does Chris Carter think? Thats the question. LoL. I can’t stand Chris Carter, I’m a raider fan and I know how bad Darius Heyward-Bey is (although he is improving this year) but Chris just absoloutely murdered that kid on TV draft day, it wasn;t his fault Al Davis overdrafted him? The way he did it was not by questioning the #7 overall pick ahead of crabtree but instead by degrading Darius and taking shots at him as a person and player, it was awful TV to watch. That kid is still only 23 years old 3 year sin the NFL and could turn out to be a solid rotational WR. Just for the fact about Chris Carter shutting him down I want him to be great. (won’t happen lol) and for attacking Calvin? what a fool. MEGATRON IS what his nickname suggest. Watched him in college, unquestionably knew he would be great.

  29. bischof21 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:29 PM

    Megatron didn’t have yards last year against the Jets because Burleson was abusing the overrated Cromartie.

    Shocking that MDS writes another article about the Lions. Keep trying to find things to complain about. 4-0. Go Lions!!

  30. phillyfan4ever says: Oct 6, 2011 4:29 PM

    Patting myself on the back for drafting him in fantasy :-D

  31. motownmarauders says: Oct 6, 2011 4:30 PM

    Megatron is just dominating…period. He’s a beast!! Take a risk and you may certainly die by that risk. I hope Chicago rolls with Peanut 1 on 1 with him at least a few times. MNF is going to be fun to watch…especially now that Barry Sanders is doing the intro…

  32. snowpea84 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:32 PM

    You’re right. This is not news. If the biggest and best WR in the NFL is left single covered then you give him the ball??? Although, judjing from the fact that temas do still try to single cover him…maybe he did need to say something.

  33. nflofficeadmin says: Oct 6, 2011 4:34 PM

    Bust.

  34. 3yardsandacloud says: Oct 6, 2011 4:35 PM

    “NFL players aren’t usually in the business of publicly revealing their teams’ game plans, but Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has let the cat out of the bag on one aspect of the Lions’ offensive scheme: In single coverage, he’s getting the ball.”

    ______________________________

    The cat was never in the bag. In fact, they never owned the cat. It’s plain commonsense. Its not revealing anything. Revealing something would be to say “When Matt puts 2 fingers up it’s going outside and 3 fingers is inside…etc”

    Any story written about the Lions or their players by you is always some negative shot. You’re suspect Mr. Smith.

  35. shaggytoodle says: Oct 6, 2011 4:36 PM

    you can know the play, but you still have to stop it.

  36. tombradyallday says: Oct 6, 2011 4:39 PM

    lebron james and dwight howard cant cover calvin . from the words of randy moss ‘ jus throw it up”

  37. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Oct 6, 2011 4:41 PM

    I can’t wait for the Thanksgiving Day game. motor city kitties are going to be de-clawed.

  38. glac1 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:43 PM

    lions…. getting arrogant??? I’d rather peak in December and make a run at a title….

  39. expatpatfan says: Oct 6, 2011 4:48 PM

    “NFL players aren’t usually in the business of publicly revealing their teams’ game plans, but Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has let the cat out of the bag on one aspect of the Lions’ offensive scheme: In single coverage, he’s getting the ball.”
    ===============================
    Right. Because there are so many d coordinators who were planning on always single covering a guy on pace for 32 TDs.

  40. childressrulz says: Oct 6, 2011 4:59 PM

    transam7816 says: Oct 6, 2011 4:06 PM

    Would love to see Lions vs Jets
    _______________________________
    The Jets suck! Calvin Johnson would tear them a new ashole. Revis would pretend to be hurt in the first six minutes of the game. Followed by all of the NFL fans knowing that Revis couldn’t do it so he faked another injury. On top of that Jets fans would continue to believe in Revis and blindly accept the excuses from Revis and the Jets.

  41. childressrulz says: Oct 6, 2011 5:00 PM

    Not to mention Cromartie might even be the better choice to cover since he is the taller of the two. However he is a shadow of what he used to be.

  42. deangelo23hall says: Oct 6, 2011 5:00 PM

    So the real question is, how do you stop Calvin Johnson?

    It’s simple. Don’t let the Lions drive down to the goal line….

  43. pftisahalftruth says: Oct 6, 2011 5:00 PM

    i’d watch for opposing D’s to start trying to bait Stafford into this by showing single and rotating a linebacker or safety over after the snap.

  44. joeyballgame4 says: Oct 6, 2011 5:08 PM

    revis really didnt do much last year vs cj. the lions backup threw to him a hanfful of times. only 2 were in either of their proximities. calvin caught one for 13. revis broke up a deep ball.

  45. scudbot says: Oct 6, 2011 5:28 PM

    “So the real question is, how do you stop Calvin Johnson?” Put skilled defenders on him and pressure the QB. Same as with any other skilled receiver. CJ will still make the play more often than most but not every time.

  46. dspohn55 says: Oct 6, 2011 5:43 PM

    Calvin Johnson = Modern day Randy Moss, except Calvin will run any route, not just a go route.

  47. RomosRibs says: Oct 6, 2011 6:26 PM

    He’s still the 3rd best reciever if he were with The Cowboys. Rob said so.

  48. NFLJunkie says: Oct 6, 2011 6:29 PM

    I noted previously this season, when the Chiefs twice left Johnson in single coverage with the Lions at the 1-yard line, that anyone who watches the Lions knows that throwing it up to Johnson is their favorite goal-line play.

    And I wondered when you noted this previously what you think the really viable options are for double-covering a 1-yd route where the ball is delivered basically the moment Johnson takes his first step off the line.

    Sounded a lot easier said than done to me. Which is the beauty of having a guy like Johnson when you have goal to go from the 1.

  49. Soulman45 says: Oct 6, 2011 6:37 PM

    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS 35
    the other team ………………………13

  50. dstep24 says: Oct 6, 2011 6:40 PM

    Newsflash Calvin: In triple coverage, it’s also coming to you.

    #3mustfeellike1

  51. JackLeone says: Oct 6, 2011 6:50 PM

    Still won’t matter b/c they still won’t be able to stop him. All Hail Megatron!

  52. ragingmouse says: Oct 6, 2011 7:19 PM

    …the best way to contain him, is to knock the QB on his ass.

    Thats how…

  53. judsonjr says: Oct 6, 2011 7:32 PM

    The problem is that you have defenders trying to outjump Johnson, not going to happen. When it’s a jump ball in the endzone, best bet is to be patient and try to separate his hands from the ball on the way down and before he can establish control.

    It’s something a guy like Al Harris was good at. Calvin would still have his days against Al, but when he was matched up with Harris he had work pretty hard.

  54. dannyjerome0 says: Oct 6, 2011 7:35 PM

    Remember when Jon Kitna couldn’t find CJ when NO ONE was covering him?

  55. otis52gsh says: Oct 6, 2011 9:23 PM

    Wait until you play a good team lions fans. Enjoy it now, my bears are going to embarrass you Monday night. GSH

  56. jimmylions says: Oct 7, 2011 12:32 AM

    As a number of other Lions fans have pointed out …

    Megatron is a stud who has demonstrated that triple coverage won’t stop him, but ….

    He’s not the only great receiver on the Lions! Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew … have all done serious damage to other teams that focus on shutting down Megatron.

    It’s too bad Mikel LeShoure is injured, I’d love to see what he would be adding to this offense!

  57. jimmylions says: Oct 7, 2011 12:35 AM

    @ otis52gsh — not likely.

    The Bears management doesn’t love winning as much as your players or fans. Some of the offseason decisions were real headscratchers! I’m sincerely bummed for you. You guys deserve better.

  58. funktron2x says: Oct 7, 2011 3:00 AM

    You’re failing hard this week Michael David Smith. This is tripe. You aren’t the person who first told anyone what the Lions like to do at the goal line, and Calvin isn’t giving away any secrets. It’s clear you’ve got problems with the Lions’ early success, and it’s making your work look like crap this week. Cut the emotion and ego and you’ll be right back to performing like you’re undefeated.

  59. funktron2x says: Oct 7, 2011 3:01 AM

    Man, I love hearing opposing fans say the same thing you did every week, otis52gsh. :-) Shows me that none of you have actually watched the Lions play. Can’t wait til Monday.

  60. donl517 says: Oct 7, 2011 3:19 PM

    Stafford should just call his shot when he looks over and sees Calvin 1 on 1.

  61. donl517 says: Oct 7, 2011 3:22 PM

    otis52gsh says: Oct 6, 2011 9:23 PM

    Wait until you play a good team lions fans. Enjoy it now, my bears …

    —————————————————————

    Hell, we don’t play Green Bay until week 12, I guess we will find out then how good we are.

  62. dewalt2990 says: Oct 7, 2011 5:31 PM

    So lets say he did let the cat out of the bag, hypothetically, so now every team will double him regardless, sounds like good news for Receptacon, TD Young, Birdman, and Schef.

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