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Tim Ryan: “I love Calvin Johnson”

Calvin Johnson AP

On Sunday, I weighed in on why I disagree with Tim Ryan, the former Bears defensive tackle and current FOX analyst who was the only All-Pro voter who didn’t cast a vote for Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. On Monday, Ryan called me and gave me his explanation.

Even though I criticized his vote, Ryan was perfectly pleasant and cordial in our conversation, and he said that his vote shouldn’t be construed as a knock on Johnson.

“I love Calvin Johnson. I’ve got tremendous respect for him. If I had known it was going to create such a stir I may have just voted for him. I don’t know,” Ryan said.

Still, Ryan said that Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and Bengals receiver A.J. Green, both of whom scored 11 touchdowns to Johnson’s five, were strong candidates and worthy of their spots on his All-Pro ballot. Ryan argued that as impressive as Johnson’s NFL record 1,964 receiving yards were, his lack of touchdowns were a mark against him.

“Breaking the Jerry Rice yardage record? Awesome. Jerry had 15 touchdowns that year,” Ryan said. “If I would have just done it based on numbers because he broke the record, I would have given it to Calvin. But when I was doing it — and maybe I don’t know the criterea — my feeling was, the two guys [Marshall and Green] had twice as many touchdowns with less targets.”

Ryan worked the Lions’ games against the Rams, Seahawks and Cardinals in 2012, and those were not among Johnson’s best games. Ryan allowed that seeing those games may have made him discount Johnson, and he also said he was particularly impressed with Marshall when working the Seahawks-Bears game, in which Marshall had 10 catches for 165 yards, including a 56-yard catch to set up a game-tying field goal at the end of the fourth quarter.

“I also did the Bears-Seattle game where Brandon Marshall was all they had and they still got him the ball and he was able to make it happen,” Ryan said.

In the end, Ryan doesn’t want his vote to suggest that he doesn’t view Johnson as one of the NFL’s elite receivers.

“Calvin Johnson’s a great player,” Ryan said.

But in Ryan’s view, he’s a great player who was the NFL’s third-best wide receiver in 2012.

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64 Responses to “Tim Ryan: “I love Calvin Johnson””
  1. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 14, 2013 5:59 PM

    People it’s one vote. It’s not like CJ didn’t make the All-Pro team.

  2. rbanks51 says: Jan 14, 2013 5:59 PM

    How many times did Johnson get tackled on the 1 yard line?? setting up many Leshoure and Stafford rushing touchdowns?

    Total fluke that Johnson didn’t have double digit TD’s…that’s a weak answer.

  3. suprinelolskins says: Jan 14, 2013 5:59 PM

    Really dont get the fuss. Stafford threw the ball an NFL record amount of times so hes going to have a ton of yards. TDs a legit concern

  4. liquidmuse says: Jan 14, 2013 6:00 PM

    Why don’t people like stats? Johnson leads in receptions & yards, Johnson is the #1 receiver. TDs are arbitrary. Marshall tied for 2nd in receptions w/Welker, but had more yards…Marshall #2.

  5. c0rona55 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:00 PM

    Very fair point by Tim on the TDs and targets. Talk about it.

  6. tannethrill says: Jan 14, 2013 6:03 PM

    Very valid argument.

  7. SilentMajority says: Jan 14, 2013 6:03 PM

    Yards don’t win games TDs do. Tim Ryan has a valid argument on why he voted the way he did.

  8. kingjamsi says: Jan 14, 2013 6:05 PM

    “maybe I don’t know the criteria*”

    Why is this guy part of the committee deciding this?

    In the end, All-Pro teams are pretty meaningless, still it is a pretty exclusive list to get on.. you’d think the voters would be strong enough in their opinions and grasp of the league to offer more than this waffling, dissembling response… gee maybe if i know what people wanted me to vote i woulda but aww shucks i donno…

  9. 2difshoe says: Jan 14, 2013 6:07 PM

    A feel good story….Tim love’s Calvin’s Johnson.

  10. johnnycash19 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:07 PM

    “I also did the Bears-Seattle game where Brandon Marshall was all they had and they still got him the ball and he was able to make it happen,” Ryan said.

    —-

    Yeah the Lions had Calvin Johnson and Nate Burl..no wait, Titus You..no wait…Ryan Broy, wait no that’s not right either. They had a good run game! That’s what the Lions had!

    Can anyone tell me who was a threat on the Lions besides Calvin? Did they still get him the ball?

    Ryans comment right there doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

  11. dabearsk says: Jan 14, 2013 6:07 PM

    I kind of agree with him…Calvin had half the TDs and his yardage was approximately 500 to 600 yards more than Marshall and Green… Which breaks out to 30 to 40 yards per game.. So I think the TDs outweigh the 30 to 40 yards. Not to mention you look at the teams records..both the Bears and Bengals had winning records. I give Ryan credit here for a pretty well thought out decision…good to see some of the voters applying common logic..

  12. Chase The Future™ says: Jan 14, 2013 6:08 PM

    Agreed.

  13. eventhorizon04 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:10 PM

    It’s a fair point.
    Personally, I would have voted for Calvin Johnson, but that’s not an unreasonable point ot make.

    Wide receivers are asked to produce catches, yards, and touchdowns.

    Megatron was #1 in catches (122), #1 in yards (1,964), and tied for #40 in TDs (5).

    Meanwhile, Brandon Marshall and AJ Green were tied for #4 in the NFL in receiving TDs (11).

  14. chc4 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:10 PM

    I have no problem with Tim Ryan here. Don’t agree with him but at least he gave it some thought. Undeserving vets in other sports get All Star nods based on their reputation (Dan Uggla in 2012 anyone?) and we complain about that. At least Ryan has some reasons to support his thinking. And valid ones at that.

  15. skoobyfl says: Jan 14, 2013 6:12 PM

    If Mega scored 15 TD’s, the Lions might of made the playoffs again.

  16. cheddarrob says: Jan 14, 2013 6:14 PM

    Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in football. Period. If you don’t think so you aren’t very smart.

  17. sp1der12 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:14 PM

    Where’s Bryant then?

    Bryant, more yards on less catches and one more TD than AJ Green and yet?????

    Tells you all you need to know doesn’t it?

  18. jgreeds says: Jan 14, 2013 6:15 PM

    Who’s Tim Ryan?

  19. jwreck says: Jan 14, 2013 6:15 PM

    Total fluke that Johnson didn’t have double digit TD’s…that’s a weak answer.
    ________
    Fluke or Madden curse? I’ll never forgive CJ for what he did to my fantasy teams this year.

  20. cheddarrob says: Jan 14, 2013 6:15 PM

    Name another starting offensive player on that team besides Stafford….Ill wait.

  21. lionsdraftguy says: Jan 14, 2013 6:16 PM

    One vote, a thousand votes, dont matter. Calvin is clearly the best WR in the game today. No questions asked.

  22. bobonmycob says: Jan 14, 2013 6:17 PM

    Tim Ryan is correct. Like it or not. If it’s a popularity contest then Calvin wins. He has more fan boys that dont look at the numbers and just think hes the best no matter what he does.

  23. chc4 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:19 PM

    Name another starting offensive player on that team besides Stafford….Ill wait.
    ________________________________

    Leshoure, Pettigrew, Durham, Burleson/T. Young at times, Mercilus, Backus, Raiola.

  24. bobonmycob says: Jan 14, 2013 6:20 PM

    lionsdraftguy says:Jan 14, 2013 6:16 PM

    One vote, a thousand votes, dont matter. Calvin is clearly the best WR in the game today. No questions asked.

    Big surprise a Lions fan said that… too much home team pride and lots of delusion. He is ONE of the best… But looking at those numbers and comparing him to other elite wide outs saying he is “the best in the game today” is foolish.

  25. thetooloftools says: Jan 14, 2013 6:22 PM

    This man brings up valid points.

  26. boondocksaint7 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:22 PM

    Liar, he hates Calvin Johnson. Haha!

  27. larryed says: Jan 14, 2013 6:25 PM

    personally, I left Tim Ryan off my vote for all-pro TV announcer too. He didn’t make my top 50 actually…. somehwere behind even Chris Spielman.

  28. sp1der12 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:32 PM

    For those giving me a thumbs down. That post wasn’t about Bryant per se. It was about a MAJOR flaw in Tim Ryan’s story. If indeed he was basing his decision on number of TDs and number of targets than Bryant and not AJ Green should have made the top 2.

    I have no problem saying Megatron and Marshall had better years. None at all. But I’d love to hear Ryan explain how Bryant missed his cut if he made it the way he professes.

    Otherwise, he’s just blowing smoke to try to justify his slap in the face of Johnson.

  29. JackAcid says: Jan 14, 2013 6:33 PM

    I agree with Ryan, for THIS year.

    Calvin racked up the yardage and kudos for breaking the record, but he didn’t have NEARLY the impact he did in 2011.

    To be fair, none of the Lions players did.

  30. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 14, 2013 6:33 PM

    Are people really upset because Calvin Johnson wasn’t unanimous, missing just one vote?

    There are bigger things, people. Look at most Minnesota fans. Big…Very Big.

  31. huskersrock1 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:39 PM

    I have no problem with his vote, he gave his reasons, you may not agree with his conclusion but his criteria are sound enough to make a logical argument.

  32. vanmorrissey says: Jan 14, 2013 6:40 PM

    Geez, get over it Smith, it’s his vote, his opinion. And his facts are correct so clearly 11 TD’s vs. 5, well, that’s quite a difference. And he’s still going anyway. Media on media violence, wow, insignificant.

  33. lifetimeskinsfan739 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:42 PM

    I think he made valid points when explaining himself. No one has ever thrown the ball as much as Stafford did this season so yards become even more of an empty stat.

  34. WatchThis says: Jan 14, 2013 6:46 PM

    I’m glad the NFL’s third best receiver is on my team!

  35. WatchThis says: Jan 14, 2013 6:46 PM

    Last year, CJ was the “third best” receiver on the Cowboys. I was still glad to have him.

  36. xlax1306 says: Jan 14, 2013 6:58 PM

    To the guy who said “TDs are arbitrary”:

    Go look yourself in the mirror and say that out loud.

  37. threexfirst says: Jan 14, 2013 7:00 PM

    TDs or not, Megatron is the best in the league. Fair point was made earlier about him being stopped on the 1 yard line a handful of times. Yes, he also dropped a few TDs as well, but the guy is a beast and his numbers don’t lie. There is a reason he has more targets, receptions and yards than any other WR…

    That being said, Ryan makes a valid argument. Does not mean I have to agree.

  38. nagaswan says: Jan 14, 2013 7:04 PM

    They are among the top 5 no matter how you slice it

  39. rg3andthensome says: Jan 14, 2013 7:07 PM

    Nice job Tim!!! You really BLEW IT!

  40. lks311 says: Jan 14, 2013 7:12 PM

    Stop all the TD nonsense. No player in the NFL is doubled and tripled team as much as Calvin Johnson—even moreso in the red zone. Ryan has had a few days to change his argument from drops to TDs. Yet, it’s one vote move on.

  41. seeptermean says: Jan 14, 2013 7:26 PM

    Whether you like it or not, the arguments for whether TD’s or yards are more important are supportive of Tim Ryan’s decision and the outcome of CJ not being a unanimous pick for all-pro. We can’t even decide amongst ourselves, so in my opinion, he doesn’t deserve to be unanimous all-pro.

  42. gmart4041 says: Jan 14, 2013 7:33 PM

    One thing people are forgetting in regards to the TDs is that Calvin is defended differently in the red zone than anyone else is. There were times this season when the Lions got inside the 10 and teams were literally putting 2 guys right up on him like he was a gunner on special teams. Heck, teams were triple teaming him down there at times. And why wouldn’t you? He’s the best WR in the league and the Lions had trouble getting production out of any other WRs (Burleson, Broyles were injured, Young essentially went mental). It only makes sense. This is stuff that gets missed when you just look strictly at the numbers.

  43. kingshockeyclub says: Jan 14, 2013 7:37 PM

    He’s cross-eyed.

  44. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 14, 2013 7:43 PM

    Glad to know Ryan is willing to cast votes for political reasons. Now ban him from ever voting again, he should not be allowed. This is serious business and a vote should be based upon who earned the votes, not for marketing reasons.

  45. 1uniquename says: Jan 14, 2013 7:45 PM

    Brian hartline, nuff said.

  46. steelerfan9598 says: Jan 14, 2013 7:48 PM

    ‘TD’s are arbitrary’? Sure, except that they come in handy when trying to actually score and, um, win football games.

  47. tabdanger says: Jan 14, 2013 8:07 PM

    Calvin Johnson had the same amount of TD’s as Darrius Heyward-Bey..

  48. rebels22 says: Jan 14, 2013 8:11 PM

    Johnson has two defensive backs lined up directly in front of him as if he was covering a punt? I have never seen that? The guy set a record for receiving yards while being doubled teamed most of the time. He’s a freak and if 49 out of 50 voted for him?

  49. jetshorty says: Jan 14, 2013 8:30 PM

    Tim Ryan knows more about football than of the contributors on this site. Not even close.

  50. larryboodry says: Jan 14, 2013 8:36 PM

    And here’s another thing…If CJ was talented enough to beat all that double and triple coverage en route to leading the league in catches and yards, and to break Rice’s record in the process, then there is no excuse for only having 5 TDs, arbitrary ur otherwise.

  51. boondocksaint7 says: Jan 14, 2013 8:37 PM

    The only person who knows less then Ryan about Detroit receivers is Matt Millen.

  52. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 14, 2013 8:52 PM

    boondocksaint7 says:
    Jan 14, 2013 8:37 PM
    The only person who knows less then Ryan about Detroit receivers is Matt Millen.

    EXACTLY. Can you believe that guy picked Titus Young over Randall Cobb?

  53. ptestonm says: Jan 14, 2013 8:53 PM

    He didn’t have double digit TDs excuse? Explain to me why Welker is always mention among the best but he has never caught more than 9 in a season. He has 700+ career receptions and 38 TDs. 38?!?! Really?

  54. sp1der12 says: Jan 14, 2013 8:58 PM

    Good point about Welker. In 2009 Welker made all-pro with only 4 TDs. I’m sure Mr. Ryan didn’t vote for him either. LOL

  55. trunord says: Jan 14, 2013 9:02 PM

    Tim Ryan has an incredible knowledge of the NFL. He is insightful and well spoken. Those of you that think of yourselves as football heads and don’t know who he is, should. He could teach you more about the game than you ever thought there was to learn. But hey, you could just sit behind you keyboard and believe you’ve got more credibility on the subject matter. “Talk about it.”

  56. nflfollower says: Jan 14, 2013 9:39 PM

    Corona55—-ok, let’s talk about it. I’m assuming you didn’t watch many lions games or you would already know this; and hey, why would you have? They weren’t a very good team. But when did aj green, brandon Marshall, or any other WR for that matter, have 2 defensive guys stacked at the line of scrimmage out wide to jam them like they were a gunner on punt coverage whenever they were in the red zone? While the other 9 played red zone defense? Nobody got attention like Johnson did this year in the red zone, in the history of the game. That was a defensive look exclusive to Calvin Johnson, created because of the incredible mismatches he creates. As a result, the lions often looked elsewhere when inside the 10.

    So consider it talked about. But just for the record, this whole topic is blown out of proportion. As somebody already mentioned, nobody will remember this when Calvin Johnson is inducted into the hall of fame as a top 2 WR of all time.

  57. bkostela says: Jan 14, 2013 9:46 PM

    Good point about Welker. In 2009 Welker made all-pro with only 4 TDs. I’m sure Mr. Ryan didn’t vote for him either. LOL
    _______________________

    the main difference between welker and johnson is the pats still won most of their games in ’09. welker isn’t exactly the team’s only option in the red zone, like johnson is.

    think about it this way: if peterson rushes for 2000 yards this year but only scores 5 touchdowns instead of 12 and his team finishes 4-12 instead of 10-6, is he still the favorite for league MVP? doubt it…

  58. stampnhawk says: Jan 14, 2013 9:57 PM

    Ryan’s entitled to his opinion, but having him do 5 or 6 Seahawks games, Ryan likes to step up on his soapbox at every opportunity and rambles on and seem more important then he is. Something like Esiason always spouting off.

    This sort of press he’s getting is exactly what he wants to seem relevant, and thinking this sort of pot stirring can allow him to move up from Chris Myers as a partner.

  59. purplepunisher says: Jan 14, 2013 10:41 PM

    i agree with Tim

  60. dltprw says: Jan 14, 2013 10:41 PM

    It is very obvious that mr. ryan only voted as such to attract attention to himself. Based on his philosophy many RB’s with td ratios of 1 per 10 carries or so are much more valuable than AP. Anybody voting for player awards should put some thought into it rather than voting in a biased way. Also, has mr. ryan been asked if he has EVER voted for a player on a team with a losing record.

  61. frosted21 says: Jan 14, 2013 10:54 PM

    nflfollower says:
    Jan 14, 2013 9:39 PM
    Corona55—-ok, let’s talk about it. I’m assuming you didn’t watch many lions games or you would already know this; and hey, why would you have? They weren’t a very good team. But when did aj green, brandon Marshall, or any other WR for that matter, have 2 defensive guys stacked at the line of scrimmage out wide to jam them like they were a gunner on punt coverage whenever they were in the red zone? While the other 9 played red zone defense? Nobody got attention like Johnson did this year in the red zone, in the history of the game. That was a defensive look exclusive to Calvin Johnson, created because of the incredible mismatches he creates. As a result, the lions often looked elsewhere when inside the 10.

    So consider it talked about. But just for the record, this whole topic is blown out of proportion. As somebody already mentioned, nobody will remember this when Calvin Johnson is inducted into the hall of fame as a top 2 WR of all time.

    I agree, Calvin is the most exceptionally talented WR in the game today. I haven’t ever seen anyone exactly like him in the NFL – not the best of all time, or top five even yet, but he’s got an excellent shot to continue this production and be worthy of that label in the future.

    All that said, I take issue with people stating that Calvin’s seeing defensive coverage like no one else in NFL history, in the redzone, between the 20’s, seeing two defensive backs on him as if he was playing gunner, etc. – being fans of an NFC North team, have you forgotten that Randy Moss saw attention like this for a 3 to 4 year stretch with the Vikings, literally the same thing you’re describing – two defenders faced up, jamming him (safety over the top, linebacker inside and underneath, etc.).

    It’s not as if Calvin Johnson is the first WR to see double coverage. The great ones expect to face special coverages – and thrive.

  62. hallcyon says: Jan 14, 2013 11:58 PM

    Does Barry Sanders not scoring many touchdowsn negate his NFL career? He could have scored more. Imagine Calvin Johnson on a team without the problems of the Lions (red zone, personality problems, coaching conflicts, etc). He did what he could and when targeted despite having triple coverage or more being put on him. The entire defensive game plan was to take Calvin Johnson out and he still put up the bets year. The rest of the team didn’t answer. Imagine Johnson on the Patriots, Seahawks, Texans, Cowboys, Broncos, Panthers or Packers? He played as well as anyone could on his team, just as the great Barry Sanders did before him. A hall of fame season by a future hall of famer. Some just don’t get it.

    He wasn’t just great, he put forth one of the best seasons in NFL history, despite being on a disgruntled disorganized undisciplined team that played poorly. Imagine them without Calvin Johnson, as the worst team in the league. He is being paid as if he were already in the hall of fame, but despite being paid with a Albert Haynesworth contract – he still put in the time and energy, and had his best season.

  63. metzgerf says: Jan 15, 2013 2:50 PM

    Dear Tim Ryan:
    1. Marshall and A.J. Green aren’t guys who have to be consistently double-teamed.
    2. The Lions had a much tougher schedule than both the Bengals and Bears.
    3. Nobody can deny (not even you) that Megatron is the better receiver of the three. THAT should be what you base your decision on.
    4. The Bears and Bengals arguably have better offensive coordinators calling plays than the Lions, which makes a world of difference.

    Shall I go on??

  64. jojozog says: Jan 16, 2013 5:01 PM

    I agree that cj is the most talented wr in the league and had a great season but if you’ve ever watched a Bengals game you would know that aj green hasn’t seen single coverage since about 5 games into his rookie year and has a qb half as good as Stafford throwing him the ball. Just pointing out that he’s not the only wr in the league that has to beat 2 or 3 guys every play

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