Arizona Cardinal at Detroit Lions: Know Thy Enemy

For the past decade, the Detroit Lions have been one of the worst organizations in the NFL. They failed to draft much talent and have had a handful of 1st round busts. They also failed to sign key players in free agency, and in front of their eyes they were actually running the organization into the ground. Those tendencies have started to change the past couple of seasons with very good draft picks in linebacker Ernie Sims, quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Kevin Smith, and the immense talent at wide receiver in Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron). The Cardinals defensive backs better be aware of where Johnson is at all times, otherwise they may be in for a long game.

Johnson was widely considered the best receiving prospect to come out of college in NFL history. This was most certainly due to the fact that he held multiple skill sets that most receivers will never begin to have. At the NFL Combine he ran a 4.35 40 yard dash, an amazing number despite weighing in at 238 (heavy for a receiver). He also had an amazing vertical jump posting 42 and a half inches (Larry Fitzgerald is a 38).  He has the physicality of a Fitzgerald / Andre Johnson type, making him quite possibly the most dangerous wide receiver, if only he had a consistent QB (which they hope Stafford will be).

Johnson has only faced the Arizona Cardinals once in his career and that came in his rookie season. He didn't put up spectacular numbers, catching just 3 passes for 37 yards and no touchdowns. Part of the reason could have been that it was his rookie season or the fact that he was playing with back problems that entire year - but it was most likely a combination of both. Things will definitely be different this week with Johnson adding some veteran experience to his resume, although the knee problems he's had this season may pose a problem.

The match up to watch in this game will be 2nd year corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie against Johnson. Cromartie does not have the physicality that would be needed to tackle Johnson if he were to get the ball in open space.  However, he is the only defensive back that has the type of speed to keep up with Johnson.  DRC won't be able to contain Johnson by himself, as it will need a solid team effort to slow the Lions best offensive player. Thoughts?

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