It’s a mistake to draw too many conclusions coming out of a preseason game but if you tuned into the game Friday night in Baltimore, it’s impossible not to wonder if Calvin Johnson is poised for greater things in 2012.
The Detroit Lions wide receiver has a sensational season a year ago when he caught 96 passes for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 17.5 yards per reception. All were career highs for the 26-year-old who was rewarded with a $132 million, seven-year contract in March.
In a short appearance against the Ravens, Johnson lit up the Baltimore secondary. Johnson caught five passes for 111 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown in which Jimmy Smith had tight coverage but had no chance of defending Megatron. Johnson also hauled in a 57-yard pass from Matthew Stafford.
Granted, the Ravens did not do a lot of game planning to stop Johnson, but he put these numbers up in a little more than a quarter. It’s probably safe to say he is the most explosive wide receiver in the game right now, perhaps the most explosive skill-position player. The Lions kick off the season Sept. 9 against the St. Louis Rams, a defense with a porous secondary. The real fireworks are not far off. And once again Johnson's presence will create an abundance of one-on-one opportunities for the Lions' other skill players.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune