Al Davis scoffs at Calvin Johnson

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Raiders owner Al Davis offered so many interesting, unusual or downright bizarre comments at his press conference last week that we couldn’t get to all of them. But we wanted to spotlight a comment Davis made about Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, which has been getting some attention in Detroit this week.

With the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft, the Raiders chose JaMarcus Russell, one of the biggest draft busts of all time. With the second pick in the draft, the Lions chose Johnson, who has become a Pro Bowler. So it’s natural that people ask Davis whether he wishes he would have gotten Johnson instead of Russell.

And Davis scoffs at those questions.

“There was some talk of Calvin Johnson,” Davis said. “But you can take a look at Calvin up at Detroit. How many games did they win this year, Detroit, do you know? Six? Yeah. But up until now, Calvin hadn’t done anything for them. He had been eulogized, but he hadn’t made a lot of indelible impression on the won and lost.”

Davis’s logic is simple: The Lions’ record in four seasons with Johnson on the team is 15-49. Therefore, Johnson stinks.

Davis does, however, acknowledge that drafting Russell was a mistake.

“Listen, someone asked the question, it’s there,” Davis said. “The JaMarcus thing hurt.”

50 responses to “Al Davis scoffs at Calvin Johnson

  1. Davis should be sitting in his wheelchair, staring out a window, watching the grass grow in a nursing home back yard. The guy has lost all touch with reality. Anybody see his pics last week? Now, not only does he think and act like Montgomery Burns, he looks like him too.

  2. Hes not saying Johnson stinks, hes saying Johnson hasn’t done much to change the culture in Motown. He hasnt been a game changer so far.

    Quit twisting the mans words around…

  3. In 2009, Calvin Johnson had 67 rec,984 yds, & 5 TDs in 14 gm.That’s 33 more rec, 463 more yards and 1 more TD > the top WR for OAK in 16 gm.

    In 2008, Calvin Johnson had 78 rec,1331 yds&led the NFL w/ 12 TDs on 0-16 tm w/ 3 QBs.Top OAK WR: 56 fewer rec, 965 fewer yds, 8 fewer TDs.

  4. Can you imaging 8-12 reporters standing around your 81 year old grandpa trying to get him to say anything.. I would be lucky if my grandpa didnt say Richard Nixon was president and immediately poop himself. Give Al a break..

  5. Adding one receiver to a bad team does not equal a winning team. Adding a complete bust of a QB to any team equals a losing team.

  6. truth hurts, russell a bust! why bring someone else in on it, take your lumps and move on!! al davis knows football just ask him,well that depends! no al not what your wearing!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. This is like saying Andre Johnson has been a bust for the Texans. Al Davis is the dumbest man in football, aside from De Smith.

  8. Wow, the old man has really lost it. Calvin Johnson is a monster and was the only sure pick in the top 5 of the draft that year. Put him on any team with consistently good QB play and a good O-line and he would be unstoppable. Hopefully he won’t was away his entire career in Detroit.

  9. I was just thinking how horrible Barry Sanders was all those years, esp. the years that they won around 6 games. Guy sucked.

    Yep, and that Adrian Peterson for the Vikes, stinks.
    What did they win, 6 games or so?

    Yep, love that logic.

  10. You can play the shoulda drafted ______ instead of ______ all day for every team but c’mon Al— I would take his guy over any receiver in the league right now considering his age, size, speed, hands, etc.

  11. Here’s some of what PFT WON’T post….

    Rookie salary cap: “Obviously, that has to be negotiated. What it will be, a 30-percent reduction, 15-percent, it determines who we take care of. We have to take care of retired players. We have to. We have to do a better job for them, so they can pay for a funeral when God forbid someone dies, pay for medical, we have to take care of ’em.”

    (Do enough people share that view?) “Listen, I’m told we’re one of two teams — I don’t know, maybe I’ll check the others. But one of two teams that pays all the medical of the people who work for us. That’s one of the virtues, I’ve always felt, has to go to the employee, that they can’t worry about their medical. And so we paid it. But they’re on me about it upstairs, because boy, that’s a big number. I don’t know if you know it, but a player, married, with any kind of children, minimum of 30,000 a year, for their medical. And we’ve always paid it. They get on me, because all the clubs say, you know, the Raiders are doing it. But that’s one of the virtues of being a Raider. We pay their medical.”

  12. (I can’t believe I’m gonna defend Al Davis here, but…)

    “Davis’s logic is simple: The Lions’ record in four seasons with Johnson on the team is 15-49. Therefore, Johnson stinks.”

    That statement is even more faulty than Davis’. What Al is saying, is that in terms of wins and losses, Calvin Johnson has taken the Lions just as far as Russell took the Raiders.

    It could be argued, based on these results, that taking a shot at a franchise QB is much better than taking a shot at a franchise WR. If a best-case-scenario WR draft pick helps your team as much as a worst-case-scenario QB does, then you should ALWAYS try for the QB.

    Basically, the Lions haven’t actually gained many wins with Megatron, so all they have gained is someone whose jersey sells well and is still on the roster and may count for some significant wins some day, whereas the Raiders have no chance of recouping their investment.

    So, if you take this as an argument for drafting a QB over drafting a WR, what Al Davis is saying here isn’t nearly as crazy as 99% of the stuff that comes out of that guy’s deranged mouth.

  13. Ridiculous. The very mention is in itself a deflection on the embarrassment of the pick – Russell isnt even in the league anymore and took a guaranteed 30 mil lottery ticket draft pick, and went to boxing matches, wore fur coats, diamond earlobes, SUV’s and so on.

    I agree Megatron should stomp you for that statement.

    tron shouldnt even respond.

  14. The Raiders have lost more than 90 games over the last 8 seasons. That’s nearly 12 losses per 16 game season for nearly a decade. Ouch.

    Davis – the GM – masterminds every personnel move in Oakland.

    By Davis’ logic, every draft pick, every coaching hire, every free agent signing … have all been personnel moves that are failures … since none of them have changed the losing in Oakland.

    Megatron clearly was a strong selection that the Raiders are fools to have bypassed …. particularly with their propensity to burn high draft picks on WRs over the years since.

    Now Davis is too proud to admit.

    The guy is a disaster.

    It’s official: the NFL has an insane nutbag at the controls of one of its teams.

  15. If Dan Rooney said this you guys would be singing a whole different tune of how right he is, the bias on this site is getting out of control.

  16. This is a non-story but what Davis said is the truth. The Lions without Calvin Johnson would be about the same if not better. Calvin Johnson has not impacted the win column in Detroit. The Lions still don’t have high-powered offense with Johnson on the field.

  17. Some of you people are imbeciles. Where does Al Davis scoff or say that Calvin Johnson stinks? He is asked a question on his decision to draft Russell over Johnson. So, like anyone in that situation he has to defend his pick. The Lions suck, The Raiders have sucked. Russell no more helped the Raiders than Johnson did the Lions. When you talk about people that win games when does a WR come to mind? Are the Cardinals winning with Larry Fitz? Seriously, this Al bashing is getting Jay Cutler ridiculous. He tried to draft a franchise QB and the guy was a bust. Get over it. The Lions have their own bust in Stafford. Who drafted Leaf? Smith?Harrington ect. If the Raiders drafted Calvin Johnson he would have been invisible until this year. Now everyone can sit bak and say what a dumb decision it was, but we have that luxury. To make my point, the man is not insane and he fully explains everything he does with the Raiders. Most of you are bright enough to read between the lines.

  18. I think the point Al was making was that Calvin Pace would not have saved the Raiders and he is absolutely correct just as he hasn’t saved the Lions, but he should have acknowledged the fact that it would have been a better pick then Ja Neanderthal Russell

  19. so what exactly did he say that was so crazy and wrong?
    He said the lions have not won many games with johnson, He is not a game changer and he will not turn around a franchise like a qb could.
    Thats why he took JaMarcus.
    Be cause a qb could turn your team around.
    Turns out he was a bust. I bet theres tons of steelers draft picks that turned out bad but PF wont ever mention them.

  20. There is no way anybody can fault Davis for taking the Megabust over Megatron. Hindsight is 20/20. Every team would have done the same. Nobody knew he’d be so pathetic he couldn’t read a defense to save his life or that he’d show up for training camp weighing as much as his O-line. At the time of the draft he was the top pick, hands down.

    However, following that up shouldn’t be a shot at one of the top receivers in football. If you’re a Lions fan, as I am, then you obviously think he’s the top receiver in football. The difference between the Lions losses and the Raiders losses are simple.

    If you have CJ on your team he’ll never lose you a game but he’ll be personally responsible for many of the wins you get. He’s never dropped a pass that would have won a game or simply not shown up for a play when they needed one. He’s had 5 different QB’s throwing him the ball (3 backups and 3 of them newbies), he’s had constant double, sometimes triple, coverage and he still makes plays. And on the plays where he’s not the one catching the ball he still contributes by being a great blocker or by helping others get open by simply being on the field.

    On the other hand, a bad QB will be responsible for losing you games, as was the case in Oakland.

    Al Davis needs a shrink immediately if he is so withdrawn from society that he can’t understand how CJ has turned out to be a better pick than any he’s made in quite a while.

  21. yes the lions havent won much, but johnson is a very productive piece to build around, how is that not impactful? do some of you people understand football? just because a team isnt winning doesnt mean some of their players arent good. i’m not going to argue over the merits of who al should have drafted, but to say johnson isnt impactful, or a stud because they couldnt get a good team around him is asinine.

    and to the guy who said:
    “The Lions without Calvin Johnson would be about the same if not better”

    how does taking out a top 3 receiver in the nfl make the lions the same if not better? buy the sunday ticket and watch some other football games and see how good he really is

  22. MDS, a pic of Calvin Johnson?

    How could you pass up the opportunity to show another claaaasssssic, Al Davis pic?

  23. jaimes31:

    “The Lions without Calvin Johnson would be about the same if not better. Calvin Johnson has not impacted the win column in Detroit. The Lions still don’t have high-powered offense with Johnson on the field.”

    I was really trying hard not to respond to anybody today and then I read this drivel. You can’t be serious, can you? Do you understand football at all? Do you know what it takes to show up to an 0-16 caliber team right off the bat, get double teamed every play, work with rookies and revolving door coaches and still put up some of the best numbers in the NFL? You do also realize that until this year Detroit had the worst defense in history, right? They actually broke records for futility on defense. The losses have absolutely nothing to do with Calvin Johnson. Almost every win, few as they are, are due to him having to be doubled every single play of the game. I can’t believe you’re insane enough to not only say he hasn’t helped the Lions but that they’d be better without him. If you believe that, you simply don’t understand football at all.

  24. Anybody on here saying that CJ isn’t a game changer or that he isn’t anything special should go watch the Bucs game or the Redskins game from this year. He’d be the number one receiver on pretty much any team in football. I’ll guarantee, aside from how good Revis played him this year, there isn’t a corner in the NFL that wants to see him line up against them. He’s not only a game changer, he’s a freak of nature with skills that are far beyond others. Just ask the Bucs.

  25. simplesimon1 says: Al Davis needs a shrink immediately if he is so withdrawn from society that he can’t understand how CJ has turned out to be a better pick than any he’s made in quite a while.

    4 Players from this last draft are starters for the Raiders. While individually CJ might be better in his 4th yr, collectively he is not as affective as these picks. Especially when one of them is Jacoby Ford.

  26. I think it is time for some of you who don’t know a damn thing about football to hit up a soccer site. Or is it that Raider fans are just as blind as AL himself. Saying CJ hasn’t help them win is borderline mental. He is their only playmaker and has some of the worst qb’s in the NFL tossing him passes.

    Proof from this weekend….Defense wins championships and Detroit had zero D heading into this yr. Calvin could put up 2000 yds and 20 td’s and still would’ve lost. Detroit fans can only hope CJ doesn’t bail at first opportunity.

    The last comment about CJ individually being better but 4 Raiders starters collectively more effective is nonsense. The only reason they see the field is because the overall talent on that team is at best average. A good chunk of that roster wouldn’t be starters on other NFL teams.

  27. Nowhere to be found is his explanation that WR’s weren’t needed on the team at the time and therefore, Johnson wouldn’t have made a difference.

    He went on to say that the team needed a QB and that he screwed up by picking Russell.

    PFT didn’t bother with this, the story is so much better without it though.

  28. @therolandobottom

    What does last year’s draft have to do with the Raiders blowing the Russell pick and Davis’ continued denial that he blew that pick? So you think that McClain, Ford and Company are better than Megatron by himself. Okay. Tell me, would you rather have your four guys or Johnson and Suh since you brought up last year’s draft in comparison to Calvin? Give me Johnson and Suh everyday of the week. I’ll take the game changers ahead of four guys who, up to this point, are just guys.

  29. During his prime, Al Davis was a good talent evaluator. I do believe, however, that pirate ship has sailed.
    Here is the underlying message in regards to Al’s scoff at CJ: Pride makes it very difficult for one to admit mistakes. It was obviously a mistake drafting JaMarcus. Nobody likes to admit they made a $30M mistake. So he deflects onto CJ not getting the Lions wins.

    So, Im cutting Undead Al a little slack. I agree with his drafting philosophy where a QB > WR. If you need both, you go QB. (if you feel the player is worthy. WR is definitely a co-dependant position. Impact QB’s usually translate to more wins (unless you are seduced by a DT with a great arm).

    The Lions were worse than an expansion team only 3 seasons ago. It’s easy to say CJ hasn’t helped the team. Its even EASIER to say that the team hasn’t helped CJ- until this year. (and he still pulls trip coverage at times.)

    “4 Players from this last draft are starters for the Raiders. While individually CJ might be better in his 4th yr, collectively he is not as affective as these picks. Especially when one of them is Jacoby Ford.”

    I fully disagree with this statement because you drafted 4 “guys”.
    Not ONE of those 4 guys change the way the opponents play Off/Def. Ford has talent, no question, but he couldn’t hold Calvin’s cleats.

    And collectively, its a stupid statement/comparison.

    A team SHOULD pick up “starters” through the draft. And every now and then a team gets lucky and drafts a superstar- and the only one the Raiders have-HAD Nnamdi, is gone.

  30. @orlandobottom,

    Your tenuous grasp on the English language notwithstanding, this post is utterly ridiculous. How do we determine the “collective” value of an individual player? Johnson is a substantially better player than anyone Davis has picked in better than a decade. How is it that you people defend this walking horror show? Because he’s old he should get a pass on looking human? At 82, my grandpa still had a very sharp mind and quick wit. When he died at age 90, he sure as hell didn’t look as if he’d been doused in acid.

    If the posts on this site are any indication, the Raiders have the dumbest (least educated, least articulate, most grammatically challenged) fans in the league.

  31. To say CJ has not had an impact is beyond ridiculous. He single handedly won the Bucs game on his own. He’s played the majority of his career with sub par qb’s including most of this season with a flutter balling side armer. If the Lions can ever find a way to keep Stafford healthy, these 2 will be unstoppable.

  32. The math is simple…in a great year, a WR will touch the ball around 100-115 times, catching 70-100 of those. CJ is there. Is a great WR. A QB will touch the ball 150 times in 2-3 games. The ability of a QB to make an impact is much great than that of a WR. The ability of a QB to kill a team is also much greater. Assume 50-ish touches a game for a QB, then you have 800-ish touches over a year for a QB. The QB is important on every single play. Nothing he says in here is a slam on CJ. He is just stating the obvious to anyone without a bias: QB’s matter more than WR’s. And CJ being great hasn’t translated into wins for Detroit.

  33. I know it is fun to beat up on an 81 year old man but Al Davis did NOT say that Calvin Johnson stinks- Michael David Smith did.

    Al Davis just pointed out that putting an all-world WR on a bad team (or they wouldn’t have been drafting #2) generally won’t have much of an impact on a team’s won/loss record. There are usually a lot of pressing needs on a team if it is drafting that high so spending an early pick on someone who best-case will touch the ball 10 times a game won’t amount to squat.

    But if you can draft a franchise QB, your team’s fortunes can turn around quickly- ala 2010 Rams w/Bradford (#1 overall) or the Falcons with Matt Ryan (#3 overall) 33-15 over last three years.

    He thought he had that with Russell and obviously he was wrong, and poorer for it. He admitted it was a huge error.

    And if anyone doesn’t think that Davis has a point then look at this comparison.

    First four years for Lions w/CJ: 15-49
    First four years for Lions after drafting Charles Rogers in 2003 (also at #2 overall): 19-45

  34. Russell or Johnson? Proof once again that it’s better to draft talent instead of position. BTW, Uncle Al also passed on Adrian Peterson and Darrell Revis.

    Yes, Oakland needed a QB. They just didn’t need THAT QB. Davis was wrong when he drafted him. He was wrong when he claimed to fire Lane Kiffin because Al was sure that Russell was going to be great. And he was wrong by implying that Calvin Johnson didn’t make the Lions better. You don’t end up at 2-14 because of one guy, nor do you get out of 2-14 because of one guy.

  35. @hatesycophants

    I’m not impressed with you and your thesaurus. Or the fact that you are trying to come off intelligent with a couple of spelling bee words. You couldn’t even interprate a simple statement. Let me break it down to you in caveman…..

    Lion fan say : I think Calvin Johnson better than all Raider pick.

    Raider fan say : Maybe by self, but Raider pick as group do more for team than Calvin Johnson by self.

    Raider fan also say: If you understand beat chest twice and grunt.

  36. calvin wasnt a big factor in the lions 4 game win streak this season. but, rodgers went out, other teams overlooked daytwa or were playing out the string…

    but with a few more players and a real healthy qb, watch out.

    remember, the lions had chauncey pullpecker for a while too. he never won jack here.

  37. I will give Al Davis a pass only because he has had some picks that are actually NFL level talent. When Megatron was drafted, That was the ONLY pick that #$@% Millen Got right. Since then, the Lions have drafted some quality talent themselves. 2 seasons ago they drafted Louis Delmas and Deandry Levy who are solid starters and Sammy Hill who would be a starter (and was last year) if not for Suh and Williams in front of him.


    let me break it down for you in cave man…

    Lions fan say: Ndamukong Suh top rookie and pro bowler 1st year, Javid Best scored 4 TD’s in 3 games before hurt 2 big toes, Amari Spivey start at Safety most of season, Willie Young or Jason Fox would start on Raider Cave Dwellers, but Veteran Cavemen play in front of them in Detroit. Will be starters in future.

    Lions fan also say: players drafted last season better than 4 Raider Cavemen.

    Lions fan also say: Calvin better than 4 Raider Cave men ’cause he take 3 players to cover him and top 3 receiver in league.

    Lions fan also say: If Raider Cave man understand, scratch butt twice and grunt once.

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