Detroit Lions: 3 Ways Calvin Johnson Can Win NFL MVP
There is no doubt Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is the Most Valuable Player on Detroit’s roster.
But can Megatron be the best player in the NFL?
The past two seasons, the NFC North has boasted the two best players in the league: Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2011, and Minnesota’s running back Adrian Peterson almost literally ran away with the MVP trophy in 2012.
The odds are stacked against Johnson, however, because no wide receiver has ever won MVP in league history. Being the first to do so would give Detroit a distinct honor—aside from being the only team to have a winless season. It would also give fans plenty to smile about, even through hard times.
However, it will require a team effort to get Megatron to transform into an MVP candidate in 2013. With the offseason moves Detroit has made, he might be poised to alter his game from best on the team, to unparalleled in the league.
Here are three of the ways I believe Detroit can help Johnson make that transition this season.
Johnson recorded 1,964 yard even without full use of his mitts in 2012, according to Will Brinson of CBSSports.com. Johnson breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record was an impressive feat. But, it still was not his finest work.
After recording 16 touchdowns and just one fumble in 2011, Megatron looked mini with only five TDs and three fumbles in 2012. Nearly all of his stats were up from 2011 including his 122 catches—26 more receptions than 2011—but his overall production was down.
I know what you’re thinking.
Yes, he broke the receiving record and had a season to remember with most of his stats. But his lack of TD production in the red zone really thwarted the Lions’ offense. If the Lions can get balance on offense, his dominance should return to the form of his 2011 season, which will give him MVP numbers.
In 2011, the Lions shocked not only analysts, but several teams with their come-from-behind victories. Of their 10 wins, four came with either the game tied or the team trailing in the fourth quarter, according to Profootballreference.com. In 2012, of their 12 losses, five were by six points or less.
The miracles from Detroit never resurfaced last season, and the team that gave us so many photo finishes saw their 2011 10-game win total plummet to just four.
It’s difficult to claim that you’re the best in the league without the team success and wins to prove it. The Lions will need to win at least five games in conference—ideally two apiece against the Packers and Vikings since they have the last two MVPs—and 11 games overall to allow Johnson to hoist the MVP trophy.
Former Detroit running back Jahvid Best played six important games for the Lions before going on injured reserved with a concussion two seasons ago. Best sat out all of last season with post-concussion issues, forcing the Lions to release him in the offseason.
The backfield problems remained prominent with Detroit...until this season.
With Reggie Bush coming to town, the Lions will finally have the answer in the backfield they have been searching for since 2011.
Bush is coming off the second best statistical season of his career and can become Detroit’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004 if he can stay healthy. The carries going to Bush and probable back up, Joique Bell, can relieve some of the stress on the offense.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford will not have to rely so heavily on the passing game and if Bush can get somewhere in the ballpark of the 4.3 yards per carry he mustered last season for Miami. Bush can relieve the overall pressure on the Lions’ offense, thus, allowing more efficiency out of Megatron.
The Lions season could very well bank on the type of season Megatron is able to have and in order to experience success this season, Detroit will need to make the necessary tweaks to their offense.
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