I'm Not Buying What Schwartz and Linehan Are Selling
One theme we have been hearing all off-season long is the Lions are adding players who can take double coverage away from Calvin Johnson and to tell you the truth I have to chuckle.
I am not downgrading the additions.
Adding Burleson, Scheffler and Best has to be just what Scott Linehan ordered. If they get any where near what they hope for out of them this offense should really click, maybe even top five in the league.
No - it's not who they added that makes me laugh at that first statement, it's the whole taking away double coverage thing that I question.
I don't care if you added Superman or even the whole Justice League; defensive coordinators are not going to take double coverage off of Calvin Johnson.
Are we supposed to believe that Burleson, Scheffler and Best are giving opposing coaches nightmares?
All three do create mismatches with the versatility to attack modern NFL defenses and that Best sure is fast.
But you know what; there are a lot of real fast RBs and a lot of pass catching TEs and a lot of good all around WRs in the NFL.
Defensive coordinators game plan for that every week. They can handle it.
What wakes up coaches in a cold sweat at 3:00 AM are dreams of frozen ropes 30 yards downfield to Calvin Johnson.
It's just a quick move by Johnson to get half a yard separation up the sideline and Stafford drills it in there before the safety can get close.
It's bye, see ya, wouldn't want to be ya for the secondary.
Quick six and the opposing head coach is reaching for his Rolaids while wishing it was something much stronger.
If you are hoping that we will see more single coverage on Megatron this year you will be very disappointed.
It just simply is not going to happen.
No defensive coordinator is ever going to tell his cornerback that he has Calvin one on one. He might say you got him for the first ten yards but there has to be help over the top.
No team is ever going to risk the consequences on a regular basis.
Remember that Chicago game last year; they tried straight up Tampa Two and Calvin destroyed it in the first half.
Not even Marinelli will try that again.
The Lions have to expect double coverage.
They just need to realize that they have the answer in their own hands or maybe I should say in Stafford's arm.
When Stafford is slinging it double coverage means nothing unless it is right on Calvin. The release and pace is just too quick for DBs to cover any ground and Calvin seems to handle the speed of the ball just fine.
It's a deadly combination that frankly might end up having no equal in the history of the NFL.
There has been plenty of talented QBs with the arm and instincts of Stafford and plenty of talented WRs with the size, speed and hands of Johnson but never have we seen those two talents put together like this could be.
Just look at how one scenario plays out.
You put Calvin out wide and you're working those quick slants and sideline patterns with him.
These are quick little patterns designed to get eight to twelve yards with a chance Megatron breaks one. The defense can't really stop it because it happens so fast so the corner is playing it close and the safety has to creep in on the action.
But every so often Calvin doesn't slant or hook, it just one move and up the sideline. Stafford sees this because while Calvin is not always the first option he is the first guy Matt checks and he sees that Calvin got half a step on the corner.
It's bam, the ball is gone and it's a frozen rope twenty yards down the sideline to a streaking Calvin Johnson. No way the safety gets there fast enough and the corner doesn't have time to recover.
Now you run that ten times a game.
Stafford doesn't have to throw it there every time. If the safety is playing too close or Calvin didn't beat his guy Matt throws it somewhere else. Somebody should be open because Calvin has at least two guys on him.
It doesn't even have to be a called play, just Calvin and Stafford reading the defense on the fly works the best.
That's just one play, just one way to attack a defense with this duo.
It's Martz ball with two prime time players and it's that prime part that makes it so dangerous. Warner is a Hall of Fame QB with an underrated arm but he couldn't do the things Stafford can and Megatron is potentially more explosive than Holt or Bruce.
The Lions are playing with a bigger field than maybe any other team.
Name another team who can hit so deep and so quick with a target like Calvin Johnson hauling in the passes. I can't think of one and that's in the past or present.
Remember when there was talk of teaming Moss with Favre?
That's what this is only better because they are both young with no diva attitudes.
Teams have to adjust game plans in ways they are not used too and in some ways that's almost Barry like. They have to do something different and it gets them out of their comfort zone and then the mistakes happen.
I will grant you there are some ifs involved like if they can get some protection out of the OL or if Calvin stays healthy and if Stafford even develops as hoped.
Those are some mighty big ifs but I just don't put "if Calvin can get single coverage" in my equation.
It's just not going to happen.
We might see a blown coverage once in a while or a defensive coordinator might try to sneak it in for a play or two every once in a while but no defensive game plan will ever start out with we are going to cover Calvin Johnson one on one.
The way this works is Stafford makes Calvin Johnson more dangerous first; then that combination makes Burleson, Scheffler and Best better.
Not the other way around.
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