As he prepares to face the Lions and Calvin Johnson on Monday night, Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond is not intimidated.
“Everyone knows he’s a talented guy, you know, but being a big receiver, he has some weaknesses for sure,” Thurmond told Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger.
Megatron may be the most perfectly physical specimen ever to play the wide receiver position, and the 5,137 receiving yards he has in the last three years are the most any player has ever recorded in any three-year stretch in NFL history. So what are those weaknesses Thurmond speaks of?
“It takes him longer to get out of stuff where the ball is coming in and we can get out and beat him to the route, we’ve won that play,” Thurmond said. “Whether it be a knockdown or interception, that is one of the benefits of being someone smaller than he is. There’s always benefits to being able to get out of a break quicker than your man.”
Talking trash to Johnson hasn’t worked out well for teams in the past. Most notably, Johnson has burned the Cowboys the last two times he played them: In 2011, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said his defense practiced against better receivers than Johnson every week, and Johnson responded by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead the Lions to a comeback win. And in 2013, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said he’s as good as Johnson, and Johnson responded by catching 14 passes for 329 yards in a Lions win.
But Thurmond said he respects Johnson. Just not enough to think Johnson is better than he is.
“You give respect, but you’re not getting caught up in ‘Oh Calvin Johnson, this or that.’ Then you start thinking ‘this guy is better than me,'” Thurmond said.
Johnson and Thurmond can see for themselves who’s better on Monday night.