Eric Chase Blog

 
Eric Chase Blog

'...today, I don't want to.' Pennyworth, Alfred TDK 2008

'Calvin Johnson doesn’t catch as many passes as I think his reputation would dictate.'

I wrote that on November 24th after Johnson had a catch near the end zone late in the Tampa loss swiped away from him. Read the post for more in depth thoughts, and the laughable Rice comparisons.

Unfortunately, and I sincerely mean that because of my adoration for Calvin on and off the field, the template in which many people view Johnson may have been altered by last night's nationally televised game of dropsy's. 

Eh, probably not. Most Calvin admirers, and again he deserves them all, will just chalk up Johnson's four (3 critical ones including the 2 pt conversion) to a bad game, or will tap into their memory banks and recall that Calvin sure does sit out a lot of practices, and he may or may not have recently had his knee drained of fluid. I'll concede that those two things unequicovally could have led to what I often politely rebuke Megatron for; 'Calvin Johnson doesn’t catch as many passes as I think his reputation would dictate.'

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches a pass during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field on December 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Ravens defeated the Lions 18-16. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

I don't root for the Lions. However, there's a couple of players on that team I do root for, and Calvin Johnson is certainly one of them. So please do believe me when I offer great disappointment in the fact that Johnson proved my season-long surmise correct during the lofty platform of Monday Night Football.  'Calvin Johnson doesn’t catch as many passes as I think his reputation would dictate.'

Lots of receivers drop balls. Lots of talented and reknowned receivers drop passes. But none of them, at this point in the NFL's context, have the seemingly inexorable reputation that the exalted Megatron carries with him. 

Because I don't want to be a labeled a loud mouthed, contrarian-just-to-be, I relish being right because of the strenuous efforts I put in to support my opinions. I probably mention actually bring it up TOO frequently for the modesty and humility I claim that also characterizes my personality. I feel a bit pained that I was right, in light of last night's events, which probably cost the Lions their season, and though it was about time, Jim Schwartz his job.

If you come here often, and I hope you do, you know we use a lot of comic references, especially Batman and Transformers. It's time for another. One that earnestly describes my feelings about Calvin's shortcomings in the 18-16 loss to the Ravens.

Here.

But, 1:55ish here too.

'...today, I don't want to.' Pennyworth, Alfred TDK 2008.

Hashing out the tweets:

- Aside from of a couple that Bush bounced on his own, the Lions made ZERO adjustments to stop from running into the teeth of the Ravens defense. 3 and 4 yards is tolerable run after run, but it was clear Baltimore wasn't going to give up a 35 yarder through the middle. The Ravens faced a similar problem early on, and countered with a pitch out wide that at least showed the threat of that play for later on. Didn't really need it. 

- It looked like Stafford had turned the corner in his career, and his early in the year he looked like an efficient, mostly mistake free and keen quarterback. Woops. If you mention Shaun Hill's name this week, don't let anyone commit you because you're not crazy. In the first 8 games Stafford through 6 INTs. He's got 11 in the 2nd half with 2 games to play.

*On a tangent, Stafford's final pick last night cost a guy a lot of money in my fantasy league. He'd gone up 92-91 with the Fauria score, but the pick dropped him into a tie, and lost the tiebreaker because the other guy had Dan Bailey's 27 points.*

If I'm playing with the QB math correctly, Stafford's second half rating is 71.8. If we only tallied his last 6 games, that number would drop him in between Chad Henne and Brandon Weeden. This blundering second half leads me to...

- WHEN Schwartz is fired, either after the Vikings game, or if they miraculously make the playoffs then get annihilated by SF, Car, or NO, the prime candidate to replace Schwartz needs to be an offensive minded coach. Before Mayhew and a Ford can even begin to ask the first interview question, that candidate should be interrupting them with, 'I'M GOING TO FIX 9.' Any coach should have an eye towards engendering more discipline, but there's WAY too much invested in Stafford for him EDIT NOT to be the team's best player.

Here's my way too early prediction for the Lions next head coach. He's a Michigan (State) guy, and he's spent the last two years learning from the game's most meticulous student and preparer, Peyton Manning. Adam Gase, the Broncos OC. Unless you're going to convince Manning himself to do it! My backup name, AT THIS POINT, is Saints' OC Pete Carmichael. The Lions next HC needs to be a QB guru a la Marc Trestman or Bruce Arians. 

- The Lions defense did a fine job not letting the receivers get deep on them, but the pressure was never enough to rattle Flacco, who shimmied around the pocket quite adeptly all night. The defense hit Flacco five times, and sacked him once but didn't force a single turnover. The Lions were one of just two opponents in the Ravens last 7 games not to cause Flacco to fail into a turnover. Ugh. 

- Here's a wild attempt at human psychology to explain some of the exasperating penalties called against the Lions the last two weeks. Recall how Schwartz, multiple times, has said, and to paraphrase, 'Yeaaaaaa, budddddy, I'm OK with how our guys play (relating to the discipline questions and incessant flags).' Well, refs are human beings and if that sentiment passed by officials in someway, perhaps subconsciously they all conspired to say 'you want flags Jim? You got em.'

Through my jest, I'm quite serious. If Schwartz isn't going to lambaste his team for penalties, then refs aren't going to hesitate on close calls to chuck laundry at the feet of Lions players. Jim, you sought to live in interesting times, and you got em. 

- Credit to Matt Elam and the Ravens defense signing the check his rookie mouth wrote. They beat the siht out of Calvin last night. When Johnson DID haul something in, he got smashed. Frequently.

So much for the league getting a year of not-so-Raven defense as they recalibrate that unit. Elam is real, Jimmy Smith has emerged as their, or A, top corner. More often than not there's still Ngata, Dumveril isn't finished yet either. Nor is Suggs. And out of Jaguar-imposed obscurity, Daryl Smith is one of the league's best linebackers. That was an impressive and imposing defense. 

From Robert Klemko at SI's MMQB.

Johnson was so open on the first of those drops, Baltimore’s defensive backs might as well have been among those great lubed and sad masses watching from the stands.

But did their jaws drop, too, when Johnson dropped the footballs? Not exactly.

“If you watch film on him, you’ll see that he’ll drop the ball,” said Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb. “He’s sure-handed, but he drops a couple. I was still surprised that he dropped them on us, in this game.”

See, I was right. #sorryimsorry.  

 

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