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Calvin Johnson is “stronger and faster” this year

Calvin+Johnson+Wild+Card+Playoffs+Detroit+pdwOsPjv7mJl Getty Images

It doesn’t take long during any discussion of the league’s best receivers for Calvin Johnson’s name to come up in discussion.

Johnson’s exploits over the last few seasons have left plenty of defensive backs wondering how they are supposed to stop the man they call Megatron. Those soul-searching moments could start coming even more frequently this season if Nate Burleson is correct about Johnson’s conditioning. The Lions receiver said that Johnson looks “stronger and faster” this year when asked about which of his teammates looked impressive this spring.

“I know it sounds corny,” Burleson said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “You wouldn’t think a guy like that could come back and get better, but he does.

Burleson’s right. You wouldn’t think that a player like Johnson had any room to get better and the prospect of a better Megatron is rather hard to comprehend. He’s been pretty much unguardable by legal and conventional means and there’s pretty much no chance of defenses slowing him if he is in fact a stronger and faster version of the guy we’ve seen in past seasons.

The nice thing for the Lions is that they’ll be just fine if Burleson is merely being hyperbolic about a talented teammate. The old Johnson is plenty good enough to get the job done in Detroit this season.

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42 Responses to “Calvin Johnson is “stronger and faster” this year”
  1. n0hopeleft says: Jun 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Game plan against Detroit:

    Run the ball. Control the clock.

    Knock Matthew on his arse quickly.

    REPEAT.

  2. degehring says: Jun 25, 2012 9:26 AM

    Megatron 1.6. Jeez… LOL That’s just not fair.

    I’m not a Lions fan, but man this guy is fun to watch.

  3. burnzy32 says: Jun 25, 2012 9:27 AM

    ALL HAIL MEGATRON!!!!!!

  4. aintthenazz says: Jun 25, 2012 9:27 AM

    Johnson = total beast!!!

  5. titanryan says: Jun 25, 2012 9:34 AM

    This is scary, scary news for db’s on the Lions schedule this yr…

  6. nflfollower says: Jun 25, 2012 9:35 AM

    nohopeleft—-you’re absolutely right. So that vaunted defensive front better learn how to stay in their lanes against the run and execute something that at least faintly resembles gap control, wide-9 or not. Because that will be the gameplan for 90% of teams that play Detroit.

  7. noeffinway says: Jun 25, 2012 9:37 AM

    n0hopeleft says: Jun 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Game plan against Detroit:
    Run the ball. Control the clock.
    Knock Matthew on his arse quickly.
    REPEAT.
    ————————–

    With a game plan like that you are conceding that you are playing against a dominate team…..the Lion fans here thank you for realizing what we have!

  8. abninf says: Jun 25, 2012 9:38 AM

    EPO does wonders.

  9. hatesycophants says: Jun 25, 2012 9:40 AM

    Unguardable.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  10. sportsmeccabi says: Jun 25, 2012 9:42 AM

    Defensive Coordinators better start their search for Optimus Prime.

  11. bullcharger says: Jun 25, 2012 9:42 AM

    Megatron is a great player. He had the highest upside of any player in his draft class and he’s finally got the pieces around him to be great (no one is considered great on an 0-16 team regardless of stats). That said, no one is unstoppable. Detroit would have the Lombardi trophy if that was the case.

  12. lionsfan415 says: Jun 25, 2012 9:44 AM

    Funny thing is when Johnson got drafted by the Lions, Kiper said we should of drafted Brady Quinn instead.

  13. noeffinway says: Jun 25, 2012 9:44 AM

    ***I meant “dominant”…

  14. footbal1q says: Jun 25, 2012 9:51 AM

    I need to see Johnson VS Revis..Advantage Megatron..

  15. cleverbob says: Jun 25, 2012 9:51 AM

    Ha, it’s about time this slouch got his act together…

    /sarcasm

  16. renaissanceman87 says: Jun 25, 2012 9:53 AM

    I love all these stories about guys being ‘bigger’ and ‘stronger’, and in the ‘best shape of their lives’… and yet, they go on to play, well, pretty much like they always do, and there’s not much, if any visual difference from season to season. It’s just pre-season fluff and a non-story. 67% of guys every year are coming back ‘bigger and stronger’, the other 33% are getting into ‘the best shape of their careers’.

  17. seanje says: Jun 25, 2012 9:57 AM

    Not that he’s actually faster and stronger, but I can buy that he’ll play that way. Last season was his first full one with Stafford throwing him the ball. Increased comfort with his QB, along with continuing to get more comfortable in the scheme, and maybe most importantly, continuing to learn how to better get his enormous body in and out of breaks (which he does insanely well now), will all help him to play faster and stronger. I buy it.

  18. jimmysee says: Jun 25, 2012 10:08 AM

    NFC North teams had lots of experience covering Randy Moss during his domineering days in Minnesota.

    Is Megatron a greater threat than Moss in his prime?

    The Vikes never made it to the Superbowl with Randy.

  19. klunge says: Jun 25, 2012 10:08 AM

    nflfollower says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:35 AM
    nohopeleft—-you’re absolutely right. So that vaunted defensive front better learn how to stay in their lanes against the run and execute something that at least faintly resembles gap control, wide-9 or not. Because that will be the gameplan for 90% of teams that play Detroit.
    ————————————————-

    So that’s all there is to it, eh? You guys watch any games last year? There was generally 2 ways to beat the Lions: win a shootout, or have a lockdown pass defense. A few cheap calls doesn’t hurt either.Detroit gave up high YPC but yeilded 10 scores on the ground. You still need points to win games, and through the air is how teams were successful last year. You can’t respond to a high powereed quick-strike passing offense by plodding around running all afternoon, you’re not controlling the clock you’re just wasting precious time.
    And what happens when the Lions’ ground game gets solid enough to compliment the passing game? Get your popcorn ready…and your tissues.

  20. lioncrazy says: Jun 25, 2012 10:12 AM

    The guy is just amazing to watch. Along with Stafford having finally a good full year of experience. It makes me wonder what kind of obscene numbers Megatron can produce.

  21. jebjja says: Jun 25, 2012 10:16 AM

    I hope everyone knows he is on the cover of Madden ’13 this year. As a Lions fan, I hope he doesn’t get “the curse” and it is the number “13” too. YIKES!

  22. purpleguy says: Jun 25, 2012 10:22 AM

    Johnson is a class act and one of the top 3 WR’s in the NFL, but the burning question I have is whether Nate Burleson ever shuts up?

  23. r8rnuck says: Jun 25, 2012 10:35 AM

    i’m glad we only meet him in the preseason

  24. lionsownyou says: Jun 25, 2012 10:40 AM

    Hey purpleguy-the media asks Burleson questions and he answers them. He doesn’t seek them out and provide them with a list of questions to ask him. You sound just like all the people that hate Tebow for the same reason.
    I have the same burning question that you do but it involves Jared Allen instead.

  25. nyyjetsknicks says: Jun 25, 2012 10:57 AM

    footbal1q says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:51 AM
    I need to see Johnson VS Revis..Advantage Megatron..

    ______________________

    Megatron stat line from 2010 Jets at Lions.

    1 catch 13 yards zero touchdowns. Advantage Revis.

    With that said Megatron is an absolute beast and clearly the best wr in the NFL.

  26. jwreck says: Jun 25, 2012 11:13 AM

    n0hopeleft says: Jun 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Game plan against Detroit:

    Run the ball. Control the clock.

    Knock Matthew on his arse quickly.

    REPEAT.
    ____________
    Come on Detroit, why all the thumbs down for this guy? This is a compliment. Writing a conservative game plan for dealing with the Lions is essentially the same as saying the Lions are a very dangerous team that the NFL will have to watch out for this year. Not to bash the Browns, but you don’t see anyone writing a similar “Game plan against Cleveland:” comment on Browns articles.

  27. giantsfan2104 says: Jun 25, 2012 11:23 AM

    lionsfan415 says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:44 AM
    Funny thing is when Johnson got drafted by the Lions, Kiper said we should of drafted Brady Quinn instead.
    ==================================

    He also said that JaMarcus Russell would be the next John Elway. I can’t believe ESPN still takes him seriously.

  28. mannyicey says: Jun 25, 2012 11:27 AM

    noeffinway says: Jun 25, 2012 9:37 AM

    “With a game plan like that you are conceding that you are playing against a dominate team…..the Lion fans here thank you for realizing what we have!”

    Not necessarily a dominant team, but a strong passing attack. So a good team will make sure that the passing attack stays on the sidelines by giving the Lions heavy doses of the Run- which is a Lions’ weakness.

    But I will say this: If the Lions ever find an answer against the run, the Lions will indeed be very scary. I would be optimistic if I was a Lions fan.

  29. myspaceyourface says: Jun 25, 2012 11:31 AM

    It’s amazing what pressure on the QB does to talented WR’s.

  30. emperorzero says: Jun 25, 2012 11:45 AM

    If he gets even better do we start calling him Galvatron?

  31. dexterismyhero says: Jun 25, 2012 12:08 PM

    @klunge says:Jun 25, 2012 10:08 AM
    And what happens when the Lions’ ground game gets solid enough to compliment the passing game? Get your popcorn ready…and your tissues.
    ==================================
    And what happens when your players are consistently busted for smoking weed…….You can keep the popcorn ready for them I guess……

  32. vikingsfanintexas says: Jun 25, 2012 12:29 PM

    I don’t watch a lot of the Lions, but if Johnson is to Detroit what Moss was to Minnesota… the game plan of control the clock and bash Stafford sounds good, but a TD to Moss only took one throw. I suspect dealing with Johnson and a 5,000 yard QB is going to press most teams into passing to try to keep the score close.

    And I just want to say as a long, long, long time Vikings fan, I gotta tell ya over the years the Lions have gotten a raw deal from the media and fans around the nation. They’ve had some really good teams and in 69, 70, 71 they were all the Vikings could handle and those Vikings teams went 12-2, 12-2 and 11-3.

    Then the Lions were very good again for a number of years in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Not year in and year out, but more years than not they were pretty good.

    Sure they fell on hard times a few years back, but drafted well and are going to be a tough team (pain in the ass for the Vikings) for years.

  33. bayoubauer says: Jun 25, 2012 12:45 PM

    noeffinway says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:37 AM
    n0hopeleft says: Jun 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Game plan against Detroit:
    Run the ball. Control the clock.
    Knock Matthew on his arse quickly.
    REPEAT.
    ————————–

    With a game plan like that you are conceding that you are playing against a dominate team…..the Lion fans here thank you for realizing what we have!

    Dominant teams go one & done in the playoffs?

  34. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Jun 25, 2012 12:46 PM

    Great thing about Calvin is his already physical dominance of the league. If he works Jerry Rice style on his conditioning and studies the game.. Well… I really will not know what to say.

  35. cleverbob says: Jun 25, 2012 12:53 PM

    giantsfan2104 says:
    Jun 25, 2012 11:23 AM

    lionsfan415 says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:44 AM
    Funny thing is when Johnson got drafted by the Lions, Kiper said we should of drafted Brady Quinn instead.
    ==================================

    He also said that JaMarcus Russell would be the next John Elway. I can’t believe ESPN still takes him seriously.
    ==================================

    It must be nice to have a high paying job with zero accountability.

  36. bayoubauer says: Jun 25, 2012 1:04 PM

    cleverbob says:
    Jun 25, 2012 12:53 PM
    giantsfan2104 says:
    Jun 25, 2012 11:23 AM

    lionsfan415 says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:44 AM
    Funny thing is when Johnson got drafted by the Lions, Kiper said we should of drafted Brady Quinn instead.
    ==================================

    He also said that JaMarcus Russell would be the next John Elway. I can’t believe ESPN still takes him seriously.
    ==================================

    It must be nice to have a high paying job with zero accountability.

    Cause none of you idiots have ever missed on something at your job.

  37. cleverbob says: Jun 25, 2012 1:33 PM

    Cause none of you idiots have ever missed on something at your job.
    ====================================

    I didn’t claim that. But McShay is a better predictor when it comes to mock drafts. And Kiper fully endorsed Freddie Mitchell as a a good first round pick. Never forget…

  38. andyreidisarrogantandfat says: Jun 25, 2012 3:58 PM

    Come on man!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. lks311 says: Jun 25, 2012 5:22 PM

    nyyjetsknicks says:Jun 25, 2012 10:57 AM

    footbal1q says:
    Jun 25, 2012 9:51 AM
    I need to see Johnson VS Revis..Advantage Megatron..

    ______________________

    Megatron stat line from 2010 Jets at Lions.

    1 catch 13 yards zero touchdowns. Advantage Revis.

    With that said Megatron is an absolute beast and clearly the best wr in the NFL.
    _________________________
    You’re right about that stat line. I wish we didn’t have to wait another two years to see them go again. CJ has grown up a bit since then.

  40. 11jlacy says: Jun 25, 2012 6:24 PM

    I hope not the cat already a beast,!

  41. juanhughjazz says: Jun 25, 2012 7:29 PM

    lionsfan415 says:

    Funny thing is when Johnson got drafted by the Lions, Kiper said we should of drafted Brady Quinn instead.

    ————————————————————————————

    it’s odd they didn’t choose quinn. kiper was millen’s chief scout

  42. footbal1q says: Jun 25, 2012 10:23 PM

    nyyjetsknicks well played sir I stand corrected….

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