Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson could be a handful with Terence Newman's availability in serious jeopardy this Sunday. Well, it's Megatron (the Transformer that always loses). Of course he'll be a handful. Newman rested during practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If he's unable to go, Jones figures to replace him while a combination of Chris Crocker, Brandon Ghee, and Dre Kirkpatrick, if not Taylor Mays, will be used as the fifth defensive back.
Johnson was limited during practice on Thursday with his own knee issues, but his health appears to be as good as its been since his week four injury. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan thinks that Johnson will play more than half of the offensive snaps that he played against Cleveland last week.
"I would think so," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "It's not an overnight thing, to get back to 100 percent, but he's worked very hard to get there. I don't see why there'd be any reason why he wouldn't have a few more (snaps) this week. But it has to do with how the game goes."
Traditionally speaking, Leon Hall has always patrolled the right side of the field, covering the widest wide receiver. When Cincinnati hosted the New York Giants, the team began using Hall in the slot to shadow Victor Cruz, while sliding Adam Jones to Hall's vacated home. All the while Newman's assignment was the left side, assigned the wide receiver in his region.
This is important to catalog because Johnson isn't a resident to one side; though he certainly favors the right side, catching 53 percent of his receptions and 51 percent of his yards dating back to 2011 there.
|Distribution of Calvin Johnson's receptions|
Also note that he's nearly doubled his touchdowns on the right, compared to the left.
However, it might be for naught. Despite the game featuring two first place teams, there's not much significance outside of each team's win totals and possible non-conference tiebreakers; important obviously but as important as playing the Packers or Bears? Perhaps Detroit could be settling one eye towards conference games against Dallas and Chicago after Cincinanti, or maybe it's wishful thinking on my part. But I think of it this way: Replace Johnson with A.J. Green and then ask yourself how important it would be to play Green.
Despite the playing time, Johnson will at least play red zone possessions and third downs, at the very least. So the danger is there regardless.
A strong bond between head coaches.
When the Baltimore Ravens hired Marvin Lewis as the team's defensive coordinator in 1996, General Manager Ozzie Newsome encouraged Lewis to interview and retain one of the coaches already on the staff.
"It was Marvin’s first job as defensive coordinator and I moved over from scouting into quality control," Schwartz said via The Detroit News. "The quality control guy is sort of the right hand man to the coordinator, so I got a chance to learn every bit of the defense."
As Chris McCosky with the Detroit News writes, three years later, when Brian Billick was hired as the Ravens head coach and cleaned house, it was Lewis' strong recommendation to Titans head coach Jeff Fisher that landed Schwartz on Tennessee's coaching staff. Two years later, Schwartz was promoted as the team's defensive coordinator until after the 2008 season, when he became the head coach for the Detroit Lions.
"When we got fired in Baltimore and Brian Billick wanted to hire my next defensive assistant, Mike Smith, Jimmy was out a job," Lewis said. "So I did the same thing with Jeff and Greg in order to convince them to give Jimmy an opportunity to interview with them in Tennessee."
Despite a Wall Street Journal entry reporting that the league is looking to add another game on Thursday Night, the NFL quickly denied those discussions.
Wondering where the idea of Thursday night doubleheaders came from? So are we. We have not considered this— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 16, 2013
Haven't even discussed it. RT @NFLprguy Wondering where idea of Thursday night doubleheader came from? So are we. We haven't considered it.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) October 16, 2013
As an observer that analyzes our team, as well as issues around the league, I get the counterpoints against Thursday Night Football. Games tend to be more sloppy, players hate it, some raise safety concerns without a full weeks of rest, etc...
But as a fan, I love the idea. Have a double-header on the NFL Network, with a 7 p.m. start followed by a West Coast game at 10:15 p.m? Sign me up. If there's a petition to have an NFL game every night, sign me up for that too.
Live NFL games, even if Arizona is playing the Seahawks, have such a superiority in terms of interest, drama and action than anything that scripted television can offer. Even show-ending twists are better in the NFL when an inferior team takes down a heavy favorite. You can't tell me that the league can't ensure at least one west coast team is home? Then again, it would basically be the same rotation of teams, and that could get stale. But what show hasn't?
Anyway, your thoughts on having a second Thursday Night Game?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Bengals quarterback Ken Zampese on Andy Dalton.
"We're asking him to do things that are in his wheelhouse. The past couple of weeks we've been in a pretty good rhythm," Zampese says. "He's thrown accurate balls and his confidence is moving forward. He's getting in rhythm with his guys and we're giving him some easy things to do. When the ball comes out fast, it's a good thing for him. It helps. It's what he's used to. Give somebody what they're used to."
QUOTE OF THE DAY II: Zampese again, on Dalton.
"If you're not taken in the first round, then you have all these hurdles you have to overcome," Zampese says. "When you supposedly don't have this and don't have that, then all these hurdles get thrown up in front of you for you to overcome. Granted, playing better overcomes all of it. And that's the goal: just play better. Don't give anybody anything to say. Because you can do that. That's within your wheelhouse."
Rookie running back scheduled to work out in Cincinnati, found another home
Despite the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals held workouts for three defensive ends (that were reported) on Tuesday, they had also invited running back Miguel Maysonet. Landing at CVG around 7:30 p.m. Monday night, Maysonet received a phone call that the New York Jets were interested and offered him a spot on their practice squad.
He took it.
After flying out of Cincinnati Tuesday morning, Maysonet signed a contract to join New York's practice squad. The 5-9, 200-pound running back has previously been with four teams since the 2013 NFL draft, from the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers.
"I don't know, I don't know,'' Maysonet said via NewsDay.com. "I've been only sticking around on these teams for a week. So if I stick around for 10 days, that'll be my longest stretch with a team. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay around for a while.''
Notes of interest from Twitter.
Those who follow me on Twitter, know that I'll dump some stats and notes of interest that doesn't make its way on the site. Considering that most of you probably don't use twitter, here are a few of those from earlier this week.
If the Bengals make the playoffs, Dalton will be the 5th QB in history to lead his team to the playoffs in his first three straight years. (cont)— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
The others were Pat Haden ('76-78), Dan Marino ('83-85), Bernie Kosar ('85-87) and Joe Flacco ('08-10)— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
Among all active NFL QBs, Dalton has the highest TD-INT ratio in the red zone at 39-1. Rodgers is second at 38.7-1, then Brady at 19.8-1.— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
Giovani Bernard leads all NFL rookies with 438 yards from scrimmage (237 rushing, 201 receiving).— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
RT @BeEaZyy23: who leads with TDs?? >> Lions rookie TE Joseph Fauria w/ 5. Gio tied for rushing lead w/ Steelers Le'Veon Bell.— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
#Bengals gave Vontaze Burfict 13 tackles against the Bills, giving him 76 on the season. That puts him on pace for 203.— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
Bengals in top-ten in major rankings: Total defense (8th), scoring D (7th), rushing D (10th), passing D (9th).— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
FUN FACT: The last time the #Bengals lost IN Detroit, was Sept. 27, 1970. They haven't lost to the Lions (anywhere) since 1992.— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013
After their win against the Bills, the Bengals are 16-11-1 all-time in overtime. The .589 winning pct. ranks fourth all-time.— Josh Kirkendall (@CincyJungle) October 16, 2013