Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions Primed For Breakout Year

Ian KirkseyContributor IMarch 25, 2009

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 19:  Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a touchdown pass reception against DeMarcus Faggins #38 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Calvin Johnson can't sleep at night.

If it were not for the countless hours he has spent in the gym this offseason letting out aggression, he would probably be pushing insanity.

It must be hard to handle the fact that even though you are the most dominant player the NFL has seen at the wide receiver position in years, your team cannot win a single game in a season.  

This year is going to be different. Calvin Johnson put up really solid numbers last year. He did this in double coverage with four different quarterbacks chucking the ball up to him as they were running for their lives or being sacked. 

The Lions will no doubt have a better offensive line next year; they will also likely have a former Pro Bowl quarterback who is revived, re-energized, and reunited with the offensive coordinator who helped him put up record numbers.

Johnson also will benefit from another big target lining up opposite him: Bryant Johnson, a quiet yet solid addition to this team. Add a starting workhorse running back in Kevin Smith to the mix, and this offense is primed for success.  

The Lions offense could be the surprise of the NFL, and Calvin Johnson is going to be the leader. Calvin is going into his third year as an NFL player with more dominating ability than any other in the league. In his first two years, he has been mild-mannered and humble and I do not expect this to change. 

I do, however, expect him to occasionally ask for the ball, take charge, and take matters into his own hands when the team needs to score or get nine yards for a first down, or whatever the situation is. Calvin has the ability to do whatever he wants on the field, and the Lions will utilize this advantage in 2009.

Expect Calvin Johnson to put up ridiculous numbers this coming year. I envision 100 catches and nearly 20 touchdowns. The big question will be, who is going to follow? Kevin Smith has that same burning desire and Daunte Culpepper will no doubt be coming out swinging with a lot to prove this year. This trio could really catapult the Lions offense to the top of the NFC North.

If the Detroit Lions can solidify the defense through the draft, I believe that the offense will lead this team to respectability. The trend lately in the NFL is quick turnarounds. Could Detroit possibly do the unthinkable and go from a record setting 0-16 to the playoffs? 

Unlikely, but it would be a heck of a story. 

Their success will start with Calvin Johnson stepping up, speaking out, and becoming the dominant leader on this team and the best receiver in the NFL. Come on, Megatron, let's see what you can do...oh, and while you're at it, get those 10 guys on the field with you on the same page. Let's see you guys make some headlines for the right reasons.