NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the past few years, it’s been one of the deadliest combinations in the NFL: Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.
A surefire Hall Of Fame receiver, Johnson was always considered a safety blanket for Stafford and a guy he could just throw the ball up to when he needed a play.
With Johnson retiring this past off-season, everyone was wondering how Stafford would fare without his top target and after a 340 yard, 3-touchdown performance against the Colts. No problem would seem the appropriate answer.
Stafford looks so good, in fact, that the running feeling among the Titans is that the Lions are going to be harder to stop not knowing who Stafford’s top target will be.
Titans DB Brice McCain weighed in on the situation.
“Instead of just throwing it up, now I think that kind of made him better because he gotta check it down and his completion rate is a lot higher than last year because he can’t just throw it up and allow Calvin Johnson to make plays. He can take easy reads, and guys make plays after the catch and that’s really good for Stafford,” said McCain.
Da’Norris Searcy, Titans safety, also gave his perspective.
“When Calvin Johnson was out there, we pretty much knew where the ball was going 90 percent of the time, like I was saying now they have a collective group of athletes that’s good in space, so I figure that’s what they gonna try to do, get the ball out quick and let those guys work.”
Titans cornerback Jason McCourty also explained how this changes the game.
“In years past when we went against the Lions you’d always try to double Calvin Johnson and find ways to not let him get the ball and now you kinda have to be aware of where each guy is, where Marvin Jones is, where Golden Tate and just try to figure out what routes and how they’re trying to get those guys the ball.”
The Titans face the Lions Sunday in Detroit.