Calvin Johnson (and Lions Fans) Should Laugh at Young's Barry Sanders Comparison

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

See, he's amused!
See, he's amused!Al Bello/Getty Images

One of the more amusing moments of my morning was Titus Young's declaration that he was destined to be Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders' replacement.

Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I had to admire Young's moxie. As I said in this morning's breakfast Links, you want confidence in a player. 

It's not like Detroit couldn't use another legend like Sanders, at any position. Who would pick up the standard?

The answer that comes to any Lions fan's mind should rightfully be Calvin Johnson, not Titus Young.

I mean, first of all, it's way too early to declare Young the second coming of anyone, though we have seen great skill from him. If he chooses to use the spirit of Sanders to improve, far be it from me to dissuade him.

That said, he's too young, too inconsistent and too volatile to be considered. Even when he overcomes most of that (and I believe he will), he still isn't the best receiver on the team, nor will he likely ever be.

He's good, there is no denying it. He's just not that good.

So, Mr. Young, I respectfully ask that you sit down.

Quite frankly, how good Young is should be just about moot.

See, as long as Calvin Johnson is on the team, no receiver can lay claim to the title of best receiver, much less all-around player or best Lion.

It's hard to argue with Johnson as the next Barry Sanders. In fact, I think it's impossible, and even if you could maybe make a compelling argument for Matt Stafford (the one guy I'd put in the conversation), I wouldn't be buying.

Drafted when the team was struggling terribly, Johnson was a beacon of light in an otherwise dismal offense. A great pick among a ton of poor receiver picks during the Matt Millen error—sorry, I meant era.

He probably could have flown the coop, but instead, he signed a rich extension. He has shown himself to be loyal, a good member of the community both on and off the field and a phenomenal talent.

He is a leader in the locker room and among his teammates.

His on-the-field skills are without par in the NFL—maybe Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald can come close, but Johnson is a cut above them.

Double- or even triple-teamed, if you put the ball anywhere near him, he's going to have a good shot to come down with it. "Megatron" has a ridiculous vertical leap, a fierce "my ball" mentality and unparalleled determination.

He's so good that Stafford has to deal with questions about how good he is and whether the only reason he had such good stats last year was because of his receiver.

Nobody asks Matt Schaub (when he's healthy) if he would be as good if he didn't have Andre Johnson (when healthy). Nobody is going to argue that Kevin Kolb and John Skelton should be Pro Bowlers because they have Larry Fitzgerald.

Johnson is probably the finest wide receiver we will see in our lifetimes.

He's that good.

So while I applaud the self-motivation techniques of Mr. Young, I cannot, in any way, shape or form, condone any statement that names anyone the next Barry Sanders whose nickname isn't Megatron.

He's good enough to where one day, when he is done, rookie Lions will talk about being the next Calvin Johnson.


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