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ESPN Stats and Info and “The Calvin Johnson effect”

Posted by ttwentyman on February 13, 2013 – 12:35 pm

I had a chance to sit down with new running backs coach/run game coordinator Curtis Modkins and new tight ends coach Bobby Johnson last week and both coaches said they were amazed at the looks they’ve been seeing from opposing defenses as they watched last season’s cut-ups.

“There are looks on film watching the cut-ups from last season that I haven’t seen in many years,” Johnson said of what he and Modkins are seeing on how defenses played the Lions this year.

“You’re seeing many looks, especially from a run-game standpoint; when you draw the diagram and install the play you draw the most basic, cleanest look (from the defense) and (the Lions) got that look quite a bit because people were worried about Calvin and Matthew and the pass game.

“As we say in the business, there’s some very juicy looks right there.”

ESPN NFC North writer Kevin Seifert did some terrific research with the help of the ESPN Stats and Information department that lends credence to what Johnson and Modkins are seeing in the cut-ups.

In 2012, the Lions ran more plays (855 of a possible 1,160) against defenses with six or fewer defenders in the box than any other team, according to Seifert. They also faced, by far, the fewest number of “stacked” boxes — eight or more defenders within two yards of the tackle and five yards deep. That happened on only 1.6 percent of their plays (19 of 1,160).

Give the Lions credit for trying to run the football against such looks. In 231 attempts, they rushed for an average of 4.48 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns. But they managed a first down on only 18.6 percent of those runs, tied for No. 21 in the NFL, Seifert wrote.

“With Calvin (Johnson) and the receivers we have in place, the quarterback and what they’ve done in the passing game here, it does allow you to have some boxes that are conducive to having a good running game,” Modkins said. “I’m excited to see what we can do with that. It’s a little different than what I’ve seen the last three years.”

It just goes to show how incredible Calvin Johnson’s 2012 season was. With six or fewer defenders in the box, and five or more in coverage, Johnson caught 91 of his 122 passes for 1,428 of his 1,964 yards and all five of his touchdowns.

Seifert’s article was appropriately titled: “The Calvin Johnson effect”


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “ESPN Stats and Info and “The Calvin Johnson effect””

  1. By Rick on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    What good are the looks when you can”t take advantage of them. The Lions need to seriously upgrade the o-line with some powerful/physical run blockers who can dominate the line of scrimmage. Then the aspect of play action passing will become deadly.We need more of a balanced attack to get to the next level.

  2. By Ricardo Diaz on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    I agree!!!!, lets hurry up and get Reggie Bush!!!

  3. By RingLeader on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    That put’s our run game into even clearer perspective – despite a highly rated 2nd year RB in Leshoure plus Bell and Smith the Lions still can’t run the ball against all those generous looks.

    That points to the ineffectiveness of the O-Line in the running game and just how the opposition rates it, obviously not that much.

    I see a high pick or two for these positions and if succesful a farewell to a couple more older players.

  4. By Terry on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Yikes!!!! With those kind of fronts one would think the yardage could have been a bit better. That being said, are they going to do anything different with those fronts? If they were there last year.

  5. By Anthony Miller on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with u 100% Rick!! We also have to remember that it was a combination of playcalling,run blocking,and running with good vision. Pretty much everything u need to have a decent run game we lacked!!! Hopefully with the new “run coordinator” we can finally have a decent run gm!! Just think how many times have we seen 3rd and 1 and Stafford comes out in the shotgun!!!! Come on man!!! That’s just a HORRIBLE playcall!! I’ve got my eye on that kinda stuff this year!! Hopefully we can stop calling that damn “shotgun handoff” and call some traps,draws,counters,sweeps, u know just running plays!! How freakin difficult is that SCOTT LINEHAN??? So I do thank GOD for help in coordinating the run game because our OC just has no clue when it comes to calling a run game!!! GO LIONS!!!

  6. By Eric Kirvan on Feb 14, 2013 | Reply

    Does anyone else think Reggie Bush would be a perfect fit? He showed he can be a full-time back the last 2 years in Miami and he’s a great receiver.
    Just making a wish list… I know our cap issue won’t let us sign any big name FAs, and we need to focus on OL & CB.
    More realistically LaRod Stephens-Howling is a versatile back, should be a fairly cheap option, and may actually want to sign with Detroit given Arizona’s QB issues over the last few seasons.
    Lastly, how about having at least one FB on the roster for the 3rd & 1s mentioned above? It’s another element to improve the play action game.

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