Marshall Faulk was once a very good NFL running back. Now he gets paid to talk. Some of his most recent talk is certain to ruffle the feathers of Detroit Lions fans. Mlive.com’s Anwar Richardson has the quote:
Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing. I don’t want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 (yards) if you have Calvin Johnson.
Faulk uses two sentences to say diminish the accomplishments of Matthew Stafford and one to say he doesn’t “want to take anything away from it”. Right.
I won’t dignify the remarks by refuting them directly but the statement does bring out an underlying issue and that is that Stafford is somehow artificially propped up by the presence of Calvin Johnson.
Take away every single one of CJ’s receiving yards from Stafford’s total and what do you get? 3,357 yards; that would rank 16th in the NFL last year. The ranking would be the same when taking away Jerry Rice’s all-time single season record of 1,848 yards. Take away Calvin’s 16 touchdowns and Stafford’s other 25 would have ranked ninth in the NFL last year. That leaves and awful lot of production that came from players other than Calvin Johnson.
Let’s also not forget that Calvin Johnson’s statistical explosion this year coincided with a full 16-game season from Matthew Stafford. If “you better have 5,000 yards if you have Calvin Johnson”, as Faulk suggests, why are we just now seeing this kind of production from Megatron? The question is rhetorical rather than critical of Johnson. The two are both special players that work well together, not one special player that carries the other. Who knows, in a few years we might hear a new crop of analysts say, “you better have 1,600 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns if you have Matthew Stafford”.