Johnson: “It’s a tremendous honor to be named to the Pro Bowl.”

Posted by Tara Altman on December 29, 2010 – 4:13 pm

“It’s a tremendous honor to be named to the Pro Bowl. No.1, to be elected amongst all the players in the league, and No. 2, to be able to go represent the franchise and players here – myself and (Ndamukong) Suh. It’s a tremendous honor to be able to go and represent these guys. I’m looking forward to it, it’s a first time experience and hopefully I’ll have many more.

“I felt that my second year I had a good chance to get in there, but unfortunately we went 0-16 that year. Winning definitely helps in getting nominated. This year we haven’t won as much as we wanted to, but definitely in this last month of the season we’ve turned it up and got on the right track.

“Looking back on the game at Miami, that was great. Having a favorable December schedule as far as weather goes and being able to go to Florida and pull off two back-to-back road wins, making it three in a row for us, that’s a big accomplishment considering our recent history.

“I definitely think it would be a big momentum shift for us going into next year, considering how we finish this year. It definitely carries over and I think it will help a lot of guys on the team. I think it will be a bigger carry over for as far as guys remaining with the team, keeping that solid core in tact.

“I think it’s a testament to the character of the guys on the team to have the production that we’ve had. No. 1 because having three different quarterbacks you know you’re going to get three styles of play, but at the same time you figure that there would be a lot of ups and downs. There were some ups and downs, but for the most part we stayed consistent with what we wanted to do and Shaun and Drew and Matt, they were able to keep us in games and win games.

“Physically, at this point in the season, I’m beat up, but it’s going to happen. At this point in the season you’re expected to be a little bit beat up. I’m dealing with some things right now, but they’re all manageable and hopefully we can get healthy enough for Sunday to finish up the season strong at home. Being able stay here, playing at your home field, especially with the momentum we have right now, I believe it will be a big factor come Sunday.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 23 Comments »

Lions will Prepare for Two QBs

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 29, 2010 – 4:07 pm

Whether the Lions will be the final opponent of quarterback Brett Favre’s career remains to be seen.

Favre, whose most recent injury was a concussion, is questionable for this week’s regular season finale at Ford Field. If Favre is unable to start, rookie Joe Webb, who won in his first-ever NFL start Tuesday night, should go for the Vikings.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz confirmed following Wednesday’s practice that the Lions will “have to prepare for both.”

He also confirmed that quarterback Shaun Hill will be the starter for Detroit.

“We expect him to play well and lead us to a win,” said Schwartz.

Considering the Vikings’ unexpected record and the adverse conditions in which they have had to play their last three games (at Ford Field and TCF Stadium following a Metrodome roof collapse and in frigid weather Tuesday night), speculators believed Minnesota would “pack it in,” so to speak.

But after their win on Tuesday, it is clear the Vikings are doing nothing of the sort.

Schwartz: “I think that you saw a team that was predicted earlier in the year to be a Super Bowl contender and you saw them come out and play that way – even with a third-string quarterback. Webb made plays with his feet and made plays with his arm. I thought their defense played very, very well. They’ve had a couple injuries; they’ve lost (Steve) Hutchinson; they lost one of their corners, Cedric Griffin; then obviously the quarterback situation.

“A lot of those are guys that led them to that great season last year. You saw those guys come out and take one of the best teams in the NFC in adverse conditions on the road and came out and played the way everybody expected them to play this year.”

Schwartz acknowledges the talent level the Lions will be up against this weekend when they try to close the season with their fourth-consecutive victory.

Schwartz: “We almost put ourselves in a position of being faced with a must-win. Obviously it’s not a must-win for anything other than that particular week and our pride and our record, but there’s a lot of things that we have to play for. I think sometimes you need to manufacture those things, but any win that we have, we gain from. There’s an experience that comes from that.”

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Johnson, Suh Named Pro Bowl Starters

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 28, 2010 – 8:07 pm

The NFL has announced that fourth-year wide receiver Calvin Johnson and rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have been named starters to the 2011 NFC Pro Bowl roster.

This is Johnson’s first Pro Bowl bid in four seasons.

“The Pro Bowl is a great honor for a player because the vote comes from the coaches and players as well as the fans.  Both Calvin and Ndamukong had outstanding seasons and today’s announcement confirms the NFC coaches and players felt the same way,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “While this is an individual honor, Calvin and ND’s success would not be possible without the help of their teammates and coaches.”

He currently has 1,120 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 14.5 receiving yards per game. His 12 touchdowns matches a career best and ties him for fourth in the NFL.

For those who have been around Johnson since he was drafted by Detroit in 2007, this honor is past due.

“It’s an exciting time for him,” said wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson. “All of us around the Lions organization have seen him come in and work his butt off. He didn’t say anything – he’s very unselfish.

“This is definitely the first stepping stone of his young NFL career.”

Johnson is the first Detroit Lions’ wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl outright since Herman Moore following the 1997 season.

“Not only making the Pro Bowl, but being elected to be a Pro Bowl starter definitely says something about how you’re viewed around the league by your peers,” said Jefferson.

“There are great receivers in this league and to be chosen as a starter in the Pro Bowl, that’s a great accomplishment. That’s what you want as a player – you want the respect of your peers. That means a lot.”

Suh has lived up to the hype that surrounded him as he prepared for the 2010 NFL Draft.

His season total of nine sacks currently leads the NFL in sacks by a defensive tackle and sacks by a rookie. That mark also ties him for third in the NFL all-time in sacks by a rookie defensive tackle.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Suh. “In the NFL I can’t expect anything more and it’s truly a blessing and something that I’m definitely elated about and it’s only going to make me want to work harder to get back there again.”

Suh marks the first defensive rookie to make the Pro Bowl for the Detroit Lions since Al “Bubba” Baker in 1979. He is the first overall rookie to be elected since Barry Sanders in 1990.

“From day one, Ndamukong has come in here with a great attitude and a great work ethic,” said Lions’ defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek. “He’s very, very focused on the job at hand each and every week.

“He played a totally different scheme in college than what we’re doing now. The transition that he has made into our scheme, I don’t know that a whole lot of defensive tackles in particular could make that transition as fast as he has.”

Suh was sure to give credit to Kocurek and the rest of his teammates along the defensive line.

“If it weren’t for them, who knows what would have happened to the season,” he said. “I’ve definitely got to thank them and Coach Schwartz and the rest of the defense because it’s a total team effort – defensive effort – and I can’t say much more than that.”

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Hill to Start at Miami, Delmas Inactive

Posted by Tara Altman on December 26, 2010 – 12:30 pm

The Detroit Lions have announced that Shaun Hill will start at quarterback today in Miami.

Hill has missed the previous three games after suffering a broken index finger on his throwing hand against the New England Patriots. Quarterback Drew Stanton, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s win at Tampa Bay, started in his place.

On Thursday, Head Coach Jim Schwartz confirmed that the injury situation of both quarterbacks would play into the decision of who to start against the Dolphins.

Schwartz: “I think both guys are mentally ready to play, both guys have played football this year – I don’t think that’s a question. Physically is probably going to be the question with both those guys.”

S Louis Delmas has also been listed inactive. C.C. Brown will start in his place.

LB Landon Johnson has been listed as inactive after missing the last game with a neck injury.

Complete list of inactives for today’s game:

  • 3rd QB Zac Robinson
  • RB Aaron Brown
  • S Louis Delmas
  • LB Caleb Campbell
  • DE Barry Turner
  • T Tony Ugoh
  • G Donald Thomas
  • DE Willie Young

Full starting line-ups for both teams

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Johnson: “It was good to get that monkey off our back.”

Posted by Tara Altman on December 22, 2010 – 3:19 pm

“It was good to get Monday and Tuesday off. I was a little banged up after the game, and it’s always good to hear that you don’t have to come in on Monday. Still, a bunch of guys came in and got ready, started preparing for this week, so it’s good to see that.

“It was a great feeling to get that win because, one, we haven’t won on the road all year and for the guys who have been here in the past, they know we haven’t won on the road in a long time. It was good to get that monkey off our back and just to get two wins in a row, that was a good feeling. I wasn’t even thinking about the streak until after the game and was like, ‘That’s right, we haven’t won a game on the road since my rookie year.’ It’s been awhile.

“I was able to get the ball thrown to me a couple of times and I always try to make something happen when it is. Drew (Stanton) kept on feeding me and kept on making plays, we got the run game going and we were all moving down hill. Finally at the end of the game we were able to put together the two-minute drive so that (Dave) Rayner could kick the game-tying field goal and then he came back in overtime, after a good drive there, and sealed the win for us.

“I was definitely happy for Drew, for one, getting back-to-back wins, because that hasn’t happened in a long time and I was happy for him for that. Two, for him, being able to go out there and play with a dislocated shoulder for really almost three quarters of the game, I knew that Drew is a football player first, he’s a real tough guy and I was happy for him to get that win in the circumstances presented.

“Definitely this is the time of the season guys are really hurting, stuff just starts to pile on top of injuries and it gets to really be a lot more mental. Once you get going into the game, you’ll be alright for the most part, but it takes a lot of toughness just to get going.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 27 Comments »

Stanton Nominated for For FedEx Air, Morris for the GMC Never Say Never Moment

Posted by Tara Altman on December 21, 2010 – 2:42 pm

QB Drew Stanton has been nominated for the FedEx Air Award based on his Week 15 performance at Tampa Bay. Stanton led the Lions to their first win on the road since 2007 completing 23 of 37 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown in the Lions’ 23 – 20 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Other nominees for FedEx Air are Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers and Eagles’ QB Michael Vick.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on from 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday through noon EST on Friday to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week. The winners will be announced Friday evening on  New this year, fans will be able to keep tabs on the achievements of their favorite Air & Ground players (and others) with the NFL Milestone Tracker, presented by FedEx.

RB Maurice Morris is up for the GMC Never Say Never Moment for Week 15. Morris carried the ball 15 times for 109 yards and a touchdown, including 35 in the Lions’ overtime drive to help setup K Dave Rayner’s 34-yard game winning field goal.

Other nominee’s for the GMC Never Say Never Moment are Philadelphia’s WR DeSean Jackson and New England’s G Dan Connolly.

Fans may vote for one of these three moments on beginning immediately following Monday Night Football and ending on Friday at noon ET to determine the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week.  The winner will be announced Friday during NFL Network’s “Around the League” show and then posted on

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Stanton to Start at Tampa Bay

Posted by Tara Altman on December 19, 2010 – 12:50 pm

QB Drew Stanton will get his fourth career start today against the Buccaneers. LB Bobby Carpenter will start at outside linebacker in place of LB Landon Johnson.

Inactives for today’s game include:

  • 3rd QB Zac Robinson
  • QB Matthew Stafford
  • RB Aaron Brown
  • LB Vinny Ciurciu
  • LB Landon Johnson
  • T Tony Ugoh
  • G Donald Thomas
  • DE Willie Young

See full starting line-ups from both teams

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Schwartz Sees the Importance of a Road Win

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 17, 2010 – 4:25 pm

The Lions have two remaining chances to win a road game this season: this week’s match-up at Tampa Bay and next week’s match-up at Miami.

Detroit hasn’t won on the road since the 2007 season at Chicago, but Head Coach Jim Schwartz sees significant importance in getting a road win for a different reason.

Schwartz: “I think that the road win is very important, but breaking the streak is not as important as getting a road win. There are a lot of coaches that were involved in the streak and a lot of players that were involved in the streak that aren’t here.”

Last week, the Packers were in the midst of making a run at the playoffs and, this week, Tampa Bay is doing the same.

Schwartz: “It’s important for us to play in those kinds of games at the end of the season. We’re not playing for the playoffs, but we’re going to be.

“This team is going to be, at some point, playing for those things and we can benefit from this situation right now. Not just (to) get a win but be able to handle a situation next time it comes up.”

Finishing games has been tough for Detroit this season, so coming away with back-to-back wins, including a road victory, would be a step forward for the Lions.

Schwartz: “We have had chances to build momentum and we haven’t. There have been other times where we’ve either had a loss or something like that that maybe bled into the next week and it shouldn’t do that.

“Those are all things that we need to accomplish as a football team. But just like winning on the road, you’re not going to go very far in this league and you’re not going to do a lot of things if you can’t win back-to-back games.”

Read more about this week’s match-up in’s Week 15 Game Preview.

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Suh, Johnson in the Pro Bowl Mix

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 16, 2010 – 12:52 pm

Lions’ fans – don’t miss out on your opportunity to vote your favorite Detroit Lions into the 2011 Pro Bowl.

Currently, rookie Ndamukong Suh is the leading vote getter amongst NFC defensive tackles while Calvin Johnson is third amongst NFC wide receivers.

For the Lions, Suh would mark the first rookie to make the Pro Bowl since Barry Sanders in 1990 and the first defensive rookie to make the Pro Bowl since Al “Bubba” Baker in 1979.

Suh is currently first amongst all defensive tackles and all rookies with 8.0 sacks. In 13 games as a rookie, he has also registered 52 tackles, one interception and one fumble return for a touchdown.

In his fourth season, Johnson is putting together numbers that rival those he put up in 2008 when he finished with 1,331 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

With three games remaining, Johnson has an NFC-high 12 touchdown receptions and is tied for fourth among all players in the NFL in total touchdowns. He is also fifth in the NFC with 916 receiving yards.

If elected, this would be Johnson’s first-career trip to the Pro Bowl.

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Johnson: “A win is a win, no matter how we get it.”

Posted by Tara Altman on December 15, 2010 – 3:24 pm

“Oh man, you don’t even understand, getting that ‘Victory Monday,’ we felt like we had three days off just because we got to sleep in on Monday, which was a long day, so that was good. I was just chilling and then the same thing on Tuesday. I just relaxed, slept in and stayed off my feet.

“A big part of the Green Bay game was our defense. It was definitely a defensive battle the whole game because the game was 7-3, so yeah, it was a battle. Our defense held strong the whole game. I’m definitely proud of those guys. A big play in the end zone, stopped them from scoring a touchdown and that was a big momentum swing and we were able to stay on the field long enough. We saw we weren’t doing too much on offense, but one thing that we wanted to do was stay on the field long enough to give the defense a break. They were playing so well.

“Against their defense, one thing that we were working on is running the ball. We had a season-high 190 yards running, so that was huge. Mo (Morris) and those guys were leading the way with the run, Stefan (Logan) got some good running yards in there too, but that’s what kept us in the game: running the ball, knocking some time off the clock and we were able to pull it out.

“It’s big having a guy like Stefan. No. 1, his main responsibility is special teams. Every time he’s back there, everyone is tuned in because you never know if he’s going to take it back. At receiver, he’s playing receiver with us the whole season and now he’s doing a lot of stuff in the backfield and he’s good in between the tackles because you can’t really see him.

“A win is a win, no matter how we get it. That’s definitely how I’m looking at it. It was definitely exciting, that was the first time that I beat them and I’ve been here for about four years now. It was big.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 34 Comments »