Calvin Johnson isn’t clueless. He pays attention. He’s aware of wide receivers, such as DK Metcalf, compared to him. Along with that, he’s heard the claims about his former quarterback, Matthew Stafford, finally having weapons to throw to.
On Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Famer talked about it.
Johnson appeared at the Southeastern Michigan, Boys & Girls Club to discuss ways to eliminate trauma in youth sports. The event was invite only. And it had over 60 kids, parents, and youth sports coaches in attendance. Before its conclusion, Johnson answered several football-related questions from Woodward Sports prior to the Q and A portion.
It popped off with a question about Johnson’s favorite receivers currently playing in the NFL.
Johnson then named DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, JaMarr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and DK Metcalf as his top six. He also showed some love to Amari Cooper, but acknowledged that he’s been battling health issues this season.
“This young generation [has] some boys out there that can cause some problems,” told Woodward Sports.
Johnson went on to state that Metcalf is the one receiver in the NFL that reminds him of himself. This was after a follow-up question regarding many Metcalf-Megatron comparisons over the past several years.
“He ain’t have a huge year this year, but he’s got the talent,” said Johnson.
However, when asked about claims that Metcalf had surpassed him already, Johnson scoffed at that notion. “He ain’t a Hall of Famer yet,” said Johnson.
Then the discussion turned to Matthew Stafford. Johnson and Stafford played together for seven of Megatron’s nine years with the Detroit Lions. During that period, Johnson earned three All-Pro honors and was named to six Pro Bowls. Also during that same stretch, Stafford earned one Pro Bowl honor and Comeback Player of the Year award (2010). Despite that, since joining the Rams, many claims have surfaced that Stafford finally has an offense and weapons to throw to.
“I don’ t think about about it, but I have heard that,” said Johnson. “They clearly didn’t know that we had a top-3 offense for like three, four straight years here in Detroit. That was just a badly placed comment by the commentators.”
And you know what, he’s not too far off with this comment. Quite frankly, Calvin Johnson was on point.
From 2011 to 2013, the Detroit Lions were fifth, third, and fifth, respectively, in total offense yards per game. They were also third, second, and third, for most passing yards per game in that period. Additionally, the Lions had the NFL’s third-highest scoring offense in 2011.
Keeping things fair, total offense does mean the pass and run game.
The Lions’ rushing attack during Johnson and Stafford’s tenure was pretty poor, meaning a bulk of their offense relied on the pass game. The Lions never cracked the top-15 in their rushing attack during either player’s time in Detroit. 2013 was the closest they came. That season, they ranked 17th in rushing yards per game (112) and tied the Bills for 11th in rushing touchdowns per game.
Despite that, the Lions finished that season 7-9.
So claims about Matthew Stafford never having a total offense with the Lions are true. Stafford put in some serious work under center in Detroit. The irony is that he’s facing the same issue with the LA Rams, because statistically, they’re one of the NFL’s worst at running the ball. Their near the bottom in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. So there’s that.
However, when it’s said he never had weapons to throw, the mentioned numbers support Megatron.
Calvin Johnson ended his time at the event by giving out copies of Madden 22 for Xbox One and PS5, signing each copy for everyone in attendance. Before doing so, Woodward Sports asked Johnson why he reiterated his love for Detroit and why it was important to do so before and after his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“Everywhere in Detroit I get love,” said Johnson. “I spent my whole adult life here in Detroit. I’ve gone on and done business here, I’ve done things with my foundation here and it’s really no urge for me to leave.”
“Obviously business helps keep me here. All my family is down in Georgia, but I thought it was very important for the people who brought that energy on Sunday, every Sunday. From when we were 0-16 to when we were making the playoffs, it was those guys that brought the energy when it was time to ‘go’ sometimes and they got me going. So I really appreciate because I did it for those guys. I did it for the guys in the stands. Obviously I did for my teammates but I did for those guys [the fans].”
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.