Posted by Ryan Wilson
Last week, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan opted to single cover Lions other-worldly wide receiver Calvin Johnson on the most important play of the game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford did what he always does in the red zone: he threw a jump ball in Johnson's direction and he out leapt Terence Newman. Touchdown. Game over.
This week, the Lions will play on the national stage when they host the Bears on Monday Night Football. Chicago's defense is quite familiar with Johnson, and while they respect him more than Ryan did last week, they're not going into the game thinking he's unstoppable. In fact, the Bears have a plan to slow Johnson down.
“Make sure you hit him,” nickel back D.J. Moore told CSNChicago.com. “Hit him.”
Moore, by the way, is listed at 5-9, 180 pounds. Johnson, whose nickname is Megatron, is 6-5, 230.
"I don’t think people should be thinking somebody is too good, have somebody come in and you give them too much credit, over-think about what you’re doing,” Moore said. “I think we’ll be fine.” And unlike Ryan's strategy, Moore understands how to approach the Megatron matchup.
“When you’re big and fast like that, you’re going to catch balls,” Moore said. “Jump balls, he’s probably going to win those. But timing routes, you can still break on the ball like you would any other ball.”
About those jumb balls…
“He does a lot of things well, but there’s one thing you can’t game plan for, and that’s that he is bigger than everybody,” fellow Lions receiver Nate Burleson told the National Football Post's Dan Pompei. “That’s what he does great.”
Johnson, who has a 44.5-inch vertical, clearly gets this, too. “You have to time the ball up, and then you have to catch it. It’s really all timing. The defenders don’t know when it’s coming, so you can’t key on it. It’s reaction by both parties.”
The Chicago Bears will travel to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions on Monday night. James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason preview this game. Watch The NFL Today Sundays at 12 p.m. ET throughout the NFL season.
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