Breaking Down Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson is an unbelievably talented wide receiver.  He is a physical beast, displaying a fantastic combination of size and speed.  Trust me when I tell you that if you saw him up close and personal you would be picking your jaw off the ground.  That combination should make him a force in the NFL no matter where he plays.  You would not think that would be a problem.

There has been some chatter over the last two years about trading Calvin Johnson.  The rationale behind wanting to trade him ranges.  The reasons I have heard most are:

  • Some folks are just flat out unhappy with his production
  • The notion that Calvin’s talent alone should carry the Lions to more wins
  • Some just want more picks to find an elite player in the draft (haven’t we done that)
  • The idea that you don’t need an elite player at the wide receiver position

The latter want to point to the New England Patriots as a model for why Calvin is not needed here.  How much better would the Patriots offense be if they had Calvin Johnson?  How much more potent would they be?

With the above in mind, let’s take a closer look at Calvin Johnson’s numbers through almost four years as a Detroit Lion.  When looking at his statistics other factors have to be accounted for.  Here is a summary of Calvin Johnson’s time as a Lion:

  • In 2007, Calvin Johnson’s rookie season, he had 2 different QB’s throwing the ball to him.  He totaled 48 catches for 756 yards and 4 TD’s
  • In 2008 he had 5 different QB’s throwing the ball to him along with a new offensive coordinator.  He totaled 78 catches for 1331 yards and 12 TD’s
  • In 2009 he had 3 different QB’s throwing the ball to him along with a new offensive coordinator.  He had 67 catches for 984 yards and 5 TD’s
  • In 2010 he has had 3 different QB’s throwing the ball to him through 12 games. He has totaled 62 catches for 872 yards and 12 TD’s.  Projected out over 16 games he puts up 83 catches for 1163 yards and 16 TD’s.

In summary he has had three offensive coordinators in four years.  He has played for two different head coaches.  He has had eight different quarterbacks throwing the ball to him in less than four total seasons.  This is not what anyone would call consistency at any level from head coaching to the offensive scheme to timing with a quarterback.  Am I the only person that thinks that consistency in these areas is a critical component to any player’s success?

Calvin Johnson needs to remain a Detroit Lion for a long time.  Calvin Johnson is a talent like the NFL has never seen.  I see him as a potential monster at the wide receiver position, but I don’t see that happening until he gets the same quarterback getting him the ball in the same offensive scheme.  This is not just a one year thing either.  When that happens there is no reason to think that he won’t dominate the wide receiver position and help win a lot of games for his team while putting up silly numbers.  Let’s all hope that starts in 2011 and that team is the Detroit Lions.

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