4 Reasons Brandon Marshall Will Have a Better Season Than Calvin Johnson

Faizan Qurashi@@FaizanQurashiAnalyst IIJune 18, 2012

4 Reasons Brandon Marshall Will Have a Better Season Than Calvin Johnson

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    Yes, the title may sound crazy at first (especially to Lions fans) but bear with me. 

    First and foremost, I'm not saying that Brandon Marshall is a better receiver than Calvin Johnson, because he's not, rather I'm simply saying that he's going to have a better season. 

    As in better statistics and more.

    I'm going to give you four legitimate reasons for why I believe this and then get your guys' thoughts on it. 

    So here we go.  

4. Element of Surprise

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    No, Brandon Marshall isn't a rookie anymore, I realize that. 

    What I mean by this is the fact that he's now in a completely new system. He's got a new team, head coach, offensive coordinator and a whole new offense. 

    Since Mike Martz is not the Bears offensive coordinator anymore, teams won't know how the Bears and new offensive coordinator Mike Tice will use Brandon Marshall. Yes, he is the number one wide receiver on the team, there's no doubt about that. But whether the Bears will put Marshall deep or perhaps rotate him into the slot once in a while is all unknown at this point. 

    There isn't last year for teams to be able to study Marshall and how he was being utilized in the offense, therefore he's got the element of surprise for next season, or at least in the first few games. 

    Calvin Johnson on the other hand will be studied by every team that is scheduled to face the Lions next year. Will that mean they will stop him? But at least they can slow him down and make him less effective, something teams weren't able to do last year. 

3. Double and Triple Coverages for Calvin Johnson

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    This goes hand in hand with the last point about how teams will know how to game plan for Calvin Johnson. 

    Megatron did see double coverages in spurts last year but not throughout the whole game, which is why he was able to rack up a ridiculous 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. You simply don't put Calvin Johnson in single coverage and teams will realize that. 

    Last year's lockout made it that much more difficult for defenses to grasp the playbook as they didn't have as much time as they normally would, which is why towards the end of the season, Johnson's numbers dipped because teams began to figure out how to play him. 

    Even though it's not Calvin Johnson's fault, he set the bar so high for himself after last year that I just don't think he'll be able to match those numbers and quite frankly, I don't think teams will allow him to. 

    While Brandon Marshall will receive double coverages, it won't be as routine as it will be for Johnson. Because as weird as it sounds, the Bears actually have some threats at receiver now with rookie Alshon Jeffrey, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester, at times.

    The Lions don't have a second receiver threat after Johnson. If anything, their second best receiver is TE Brandon Pettigrew. 

    Advantage: Marshall. 

2. Better Quarterback

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    Yes, I know Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards last season but last time I checked, one season doesn't determine a quarterback's standing in the NFL. And oh yeah, he had Megatron as his receiver. 

    Don't get me wrong, Stafford has a bright future in this league for sure, but until last year, Stafford was an often-injured QB who struggled at times. Which is why I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Jay Cutler, who had the Bears red-hot in the middle of the season with five straight wins until he broke his thumb and was sidelined for the rest of the year. 

    Cutler is no stranger to putting up big numbers, as he once put up over 4,500 passing yards with the Denver Broncos when his wide receiver was Brandon Marshall. After being traded to Chicago, Cutler has never had the luxury of having a offensive line and a receiving core like Stafford's—until now. Cutler's old and now new wide receiver is Brandon Marshall and there's no reason to expect that he can't put up the same or even better numbers than he did in Denver. 

    In fact, I've argued that if given the right talent, Jay Cutler is a top five quarterback. And I stand by it, which is why he'll help Brandon Marshall have a better season than Calvin Johnson. I mean if Brandon Marshall can have 1,000 receiving yards with a lackluster set of QBs in Miami, then imagine he what can do with a quarterback like Jay Cutler. 

1. Madden Curse

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    You knew it was coming. There was no way around it. 

    The biggest reason Brandon Marshall will have a better season than Calvin Johnson is because Megatron has the dubious honor of being on the cover of Madden '13. 

    The curse has gotten to just about everyone on the list and Johnson better hope his name won't be added to that list. 

    Just take a look at last year's cover boy Peyton Hillis, who dealt with a litany of injuries and played himself out of Cleveland. Now he's in a backup role to Jamaal Charles in Kansas City

    I can go further. Drew Brees, the Madden '11 cover boy, threw twice as many interceptions in his Madden year than he did in his previous Super Bowl winning season.

    The Madden '10 cover athletes were Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu. Fitzgerald and Polamula both dealt with injuries.

    Vince Young was on the cover in 2008 and his NFL career was never the same again. 

    You get the point. The curse is there, and it's waiting for Megatron. Lions fans better hope it doesn't get him, because the biggest beneficiary will be Brandon Marshall.