Today is the day, Detroit Lions fans. Calvin "Megatron" Johnson is making his much anticipated football debut of the 2014 preseason. Although you cannot really blame Lions' head coach Jim Caldwell for sitting Megatron, it will be good to see the Lions' true offense on the field all at the same time. Calvin Johnson is set to take the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Detroit Lions are coming off of a late preseason loss at Oakland, but the starting offense looked great. Matthew Stafford looked very good in the pocket. He had plenty of time to throw, and therefor made great decisions. The offensive line was creating opportunities for the passing game, and the running game. Golden Tate has looked very sharp in the preseason, and now he will finally get his opportunity to line up opposite the great Calvin Johnson.
Calvin Johnson's role is going to be a lot different in Joe Lombardi's offense. He is going to line up inside and out. His routes are going to be more about creating space with his moves, and not necessarily his breakaway speed and size. Calvin Johnson is going to be running more slants, posts, and fades, and running less streaks. Even Megatron himself is curious to how he will fill this new role.
Calvin Johnson is the hero of the Detroit Lions. He has bailed out this team time after time with spectacular catches. Without a doubt, we are watching one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. Johnson struggled with injuries late last season, and still put out ridiculous numbers. If Calvin Johnson is 100% healthy going into the season, then there is no defense that can prepare for the Lions' offense.
Without having Calvin Johnson himself to practice against, defensive backs are already at a disadvantage. Joe Lombardi is planning on having Calvin Johnson move around a lot more in different packages. As long as Golden Tate demands the respect he should from defenses, that will put Johnson in a mismatch against a safety or linebacker. If opposing teams let that happen, that's all she wrote. It will be a disaster for defenses.
There is only one receiver even comparable to the talent of Calvin Johnson, and that was the great Jerry Rice. A lot of receivers in the NFL like to try to compare themselves to Megatron, but it never ends nicely.
Dez Bryant tried to call out Johnson before the 2013 contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions. Calvin Johnson responded with the second highest yards ever by a receiver in a single game; 329 yard with a single touchdown. Dez Bryant is a great young receiver, but he failed to put the only thing performing during that October week was his mouth.
The Chicago Bears star wide receiver Brandon Marshall is sick of being the second best receiver in the NFC North. He also had the audacity to call out Megatron before a 2013 contest between the two NFC North rivals. Marshall has repeatedly claimed that he is the best wide receiver in the league, and apparently getting swept by the Lions in 2013 has not changed his mind.
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery think that the Bears have a better receiving core, but that has yet to be proven. Calvin Johnson is without a doubt the top wide receiver across the board, and with the addition of Golden Tate the Lions have a stellar top two receivers also. If Brandon Marshall wants to dethrone Calvin Johnson as the best wide receiver in the NFL, then he will have to not lead the league in one very important statistic; drops.
Calvin Johnson is one of a kind. That is why this preseason debut for him seems like so much more to the fans. It is the first time the Lions' most valuable player will take the field in a live action scenario. Tonight, the Lions' offense will truly be unleashed.
Viewers can catch the game Friday, August 22nd at 7:30 pm. It can be seen locally on WXYZ TV-7, in the Saginaw/Bay City/Midland area on WNEM TV-5, on WXMI TV-17 in the Grand Rapids area, and on WSYM TV-47 in the Lansing area. Viewers can also catch the game on the NFL.com website.