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Can Lions find ways to get Calvin Johnson the ball?

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Nors, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Can Lions find ways to get Calvin Johnson the ball?

    Posted by Brian VanOchten | The Grand Rapids Press October 25, 2008 00:05AM
    Categories: Featured, Lions

    Five players to watch when the Detroit Lions (0-6) host Washington (5-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field.

    1. Calvin Johnson
    Even stubborn offensive coordinator Jim Colletto is beginning to see the light. Johnson caught two passes for 154 yards (77.0-yard average is nice, huh?), including a 96-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans last weekend that registered as the fourth-longest pass play in team history.

    The fact that Johnson was targeted so few times in that game finally dawned on Colletto, who is preaching the sudden need to get him the ball more.

    He should start by putting in a variety of plays -- not just deep routes -- that take full advantage of the 6-foot-5, 239-pound freak of nature with sprinter's speed. A few crossing patterns? A few quick outs? A few sideline missiles? An end-around run once in a while? Anything.

    And Johnson should have a favorable matchup this week since Washington's top cover corner, Shawn Springs, has been ruled out.

    If Johnson, averaging 4.17 catches per game, isn't involved more in the offense this week, then hand over the play-calling duties to assistant coach Kippy Brown for the rest of the season.

    2. Gosder Cherilus
    It seems the rookie right tackle is back in coach Rod Marinelli's good graces. Marinelli has been complimentary toward Cherilus this week. Imagine that. It just might have something to do with the fact George "False Start" Foster got flagged twice for jumping at the line of scrimmage against the Texans.

    Of course, Marinelli would never admit that's the real reason for making the change. He's smarter than all of us. He respects the game of football so much more than all of us. Yeah, that makes perfect sense, right? The simple fact is that Cherilus, who has made steady improvement when he has been on the field, has out-played Foster. No contest.

    Does Cherilus make mistakes? Yes. Is he to blame for all of the team's problems on the offensive line? Of course not. It's time that Marinelli put some trust in Cherilus and let him get the game experience he needs so that he can continue to improve.

    3. Kevin Smith
    Memo to Marinelli: Just give the kid the dang football! It's outrageous that veteran Rudi Johnson has started in front of the rookie third-round pick from Central Florida lately. In fact, Johnson went out to midfield for the pregame coin toss with the other team captains in Houston last week.

    Exactly what has Johnson done to earn that status on this team? Nothing really. He's a nice insurance marker to have around if Smith falters or gets hurt, but Marinelli has to stop coaching like it's the varsity team in high school.

    It's the pros! The best players should play. If Marinelli can't figure out that Smith is younger, faster, stronger, makes sharper cuts, pick up blitzers better and is just plain better than Johnson, then he's not practicing what he preaches when he says there is no "entitlement" for "high draft picks."

    Smith has earned the right to be the starting running back on this team. Period.

    4. Jason Campbell
    In the first game of the season, the Washington quarterback looked terrible in a 16-7 loss to the New York Giants. The rumors spread throughout the NFL like wildfire that he couldn't grasp new head coach Jim Zorn's offense. Oops.

    Ever since, Campbell has played an All-Pro level. He has led Washington to five wins in the past six games. He has completed 129-of-202 passing attempts (63.9 percent) for 1,426 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 96.3. How's that for efficient?

    The Washington offense is powered first by its running game, but Campbell has done a masterful job of managing the clock and putting his team in position to challenge the Giants in the NFC East.

    5. Devin Thomas
    A couple of rookie wide receivers in the NFL have flourished this season: Eddie Royal (Denver) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia). Unfortunately, former Michigan State standout Thomas isn't having as much fun. He has caught just four passes for 40 yards and had one rushing attempt for 16 yards.

    It'll at least be a nice homecoming for him this weekend. Against the 31st-ranked pass defense of the Lions, he might even get into the scoring act for the first time in his NFL career.

    E-mail Brian VanOchten: bvanochten@grpress.com
  2. Rampage

    Rampage Benched

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    it's sad they write articles like this about if we can get T.O. the ball.

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