New coach Jim Caldwell called it "extremely important" for the
“He’s one that’s going to draw a little extra attention, in terms of double coverage, like he’s always done,” Caldwell said. “And with that being the case, we have to find a way to make certain whoever’s on the other side that may be getting singled in some situations can do some damage against the defenders.
“I think that’s extremely important, so I think that’s something that, obviously, we’ve taken a good, hard look at and, one way or another, we’re going to come up with a guy that’s going to give us some balance in that area.”
"Tenuously thin" at wideout, the
"I'd like big and fast," new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi told the website when asked if he preferred size or speed in a No. 2 receiver. "But listen, if I was going to give a stock answer, I know what Calvin can do, how he can stretch the field, what his strengths are. I don't really know what his weaknesses are right now, but I'm sure, maybe there's something. So, you would say, 'Well, someone to work underneath?' You know, that would be an easy answer."
In the past two years,
“It’s something that, you know, I don’t want to call it a pitch count, but you’re always cognizant of how much are these guys running in practice, how many hits they are taking, who is coming across the middle to catch this pass that's going to possibly get him hit," Lombardi said.
The Lions can start easing the burden on Johnson by adding quality receivers through the draft or free agency.
With two defenders routinely covering
"It’s a good thing if a new receiver can operate in the slot, but it’s more important that he’s a standalone talent who can command coverage and make defenses concentrate on someone other than Johnson," the website said.
Johnson missed two games this season with a knee injury and also played through a finger injury. Both injuries required surgery.
Johnson had two big drops in a Week 15 Monday night loss to the Ravens, and he finished with eight drops in 14 games. Johnson underwent surgery on the finger and had arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after the season.
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