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Patrick Peterson: Playing against Calvin Johnson will show I’m NFL’s best corner

Patrick-Peterson-CardinalsIf there is one player in the NFL who will never have to toot his own horn, it has to be Calvin Johnson. The Detroit Lions receiver hardly ever says much, but it feels like every week there is a new defender talking about how he is going to prove himself by shutting down Megatron. This week, that defender is Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

“I think I am the best cornerback in the league right now,” Peterson told reporters this week according to DetroitLions.com. “I think I’m doing everything that I need to do to keep my name in consideration of the best cornerback. But at the end of the day, I have to go out there and continue playing hard and continue being the person that I am, continue preparing, continue having that confidence within myself on Sundays and go out there and make the necessary plays that I need to make for this defense.

“You know, me and Calvin, we’re the same caliber players. You know, just he’s a receiver and I’m a DB. I just think going against him each and every play is definitely going to get me notoriety as being one of the best corners in the game, especially if I do what I need to do on Sunday.”

Shutting down Johnson is certainly an accomplishment, but I wish corners would just stop talking about it in the days leading up to their games against the Lions. This season alone we have had not one, but two defensive backs change their Twitter handles to “Optimus Prime” in anticipation of their matchup against the one they call Megatron. What ever happened to just playing the game?

H/T Pro Football Talk

Tramon Williams calls himself Optimus Prime, says Calvin Johnson pushed Richard Sherman around

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams is apparently not very original. Earlier this week, Williams dubbed himself “Optimus Prime” in anticipation of his upcoming matchup against Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. Megatron. That sounds awfully familiar.

A few weeks ago, Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman changed his Twitter name to Optimus Prime for the week leading up to his matchup against Johnson. He held Megatron to only three catches for 46 yards, and most would say earned the right to brag about the performance. Williams does not agree.

“I’m definitely Optimus Prime,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m the leader of the Autobots. I’m the leader of the young guys right now and when it comes down to the tough battles, I’ll lead those guys out there.

“Guys like (Seahawks corner) Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman — they talk about how physical they are — but Calvin was pushing those guys around the field like it was nothing. And those are some big guys. You definitely have to be careful with how you play a big guy like that.”

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Calvin Johnson thinks he’ll be playing with knee pain all season

Calvin Johnson turned in one of his best performances of the season as the Detroit Lions defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, but it is a well-known fact that he did not feel his best. Johnson has been dealing with pain in his left knee that kept him out of practice all week. Unfortunately for Detroit, he feels it may limit him all season.

“It’s probably something I’m going to have to deal with,” Johnson said according to MLive.com. “As much running as we do, especially in this game, it’s stuff that really could take the whole season to get over with. It would be great if it can get over it before. It’s something that I expect to linger. You just got to stay on top of it with treatments.”

Megatron was still able to dominate against a weak defense with seven catches for 129 yards. Last week, he was held to only three catches for 46 yards against a tough Seahawks defense. The week before that he caught three balls for 34 yards against an even tougher Bears defense.

For the most part, Johnson has succeeded against lesser opponents and struggled against elite corners — just ask this Seahawks defensive back. The Megatron of old had success against pretty much anyone, so the knee has obviously been an issue. If you think a fully healthy Johnson would have only one touchdown catch in eight games, you haven’t been paying attention over the last few seasons. The 4-4 Lions are looking to crawl back into playoff contention, but Johnson’s knee could be one of the things that prevents them from getting there.

Richard Sherman brags about shutting Calvin Johnson down

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman seemed to have no shortage of confidence all week heading into his matchup with Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions. Megatron is probably the most difficult receiver in the game to cover, but Sherman indicated he was up for the task when he changed his Twitter name to something that suited the occasion.

The Lions may have come out victorious, but that didn’t stop Sherman from pointing out that he did his job after the game.

“You see his numbers, they speak for themselves,” Sherman said according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He was a non-factor.”

For what it’s worth, Sherman did shut Johnson down. Calvin had only three catches for 46 yards on eight targets, so it doesn’t get much better than that for the Seahawks corner. However, Detroit came out on top. Johnson was also supposedly hampered by a sore knee, so that could have been a factor.

It made sense when Sherman gloated after Seattle played the Patriots because his team came away with the win. In a situation like Sunday, it’s better to ignore questions about personal accomplishments when you failed to pick up a W. The Lions climbed to 3-4 and the Seahawks fell to 4-4. At the end of the day, nothing else matters.

Richard Sherman calling himself ‘Optimus Prime’ for matchup with Megatron

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has changed his name on his Twitter profile to “Optimus Prime” ahead of Sunday’s contest with the Detroit Lions, indicating he’s prepared to match up against Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Johnson has gone by the nickname “Megatron” for years. Megatron is a character from the fictional “Transformers” comics, and he is the leader of the bad guys known as the Decepticons. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, which are known as the good guys in opposition to the Decepticons.

Sherman’s Twitter name change is a strong indication that he will be covering the All-Pro wide receiver during Sunday’s game in Detroit. Though he did make the name change, Sherman downplayed the matchup with Johnson.

“Same challenge as every week,” he said per Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times.

“I don’t care who’s out there. It’s the league, boy, they’re going to have a good receiver out there every week where it’s Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald), Steve Smith, you’ve got Brandon Lloyd. No different. It’s good receivers.”

Though he’s only in his second season in the league, Sherman is rapidly developing a reputation around the league as a talker. He’s the same player who taunted Tom Brady after the Seahawks came back to beat the Patriots in Week 5.

Sherman also responded to San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s complaints that the Seahawks defensive backs played too physically against the Niners receivers.

“Sometimes, man, when the bully gets bullied, that’s how that happens,” Sherman said.

“He’s the same guy who said the other guy was irrational and ignorant for talking about the refs.”

Sherman’s comments about “the other guy” were a reference to what Harbaugh said about Giants coach Kevin Gilbride prior to the 49ers-Giants game.

Yup, this Sherman guy can talk.

Calvin Johnson on getting hit: ‘You get concussed, you gotta keep on playing’

Calvin Johnson and the NFL have very different views on the issue of concussions. The league has spent a good deal of time, money and effort over the past couple of years trying to make the game of football safer — or at least create the illusion that they are doing so. Team doctors now have the authority to keep players off the field if they fail concussion tests, but none of us are naive enough to think it is that cut and dry.

According to Johnson, who took a helmet-to-helmet shot from Minnesota’s Chad Greenway two weeks ago, getting a concussion and heading back onto the field is all part of the game.

“He rung my bell pretty good, he got me, he caught me around the chin, that was a good hit,” Johnson told The Stoney and Bill Show on 97.1 The Ticket, according to CBS Detroit. “It’s a part of football, you get concussed, you gotta keep on playing. You can’t get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning.”

Johnson said the Lions medical staff gave him a basic concussion test that included following their finger and answering questions about what day of the week it was and what game he was playing in. On Thursday, head coach Jim Schwartz said Megatron was thoroughly evaluated before reentering the game.

“Our evaluation was he was not concussed, he was thoroughly checked, we are very strong in our evaluation,” Schwartz explained. “He was cleared to go back in the game … We are very strong in our evaluation. We are, we as an organization, we have some credibility when it comes to concussions, so just leave it at that.”

This past weekend, Robert Griffin III reportedly failed the same type of test Johnson was given and did not return to the game, so obviously the issue is taken seriously. That being said, in an era where players choose law school over football because of the risk of head injuries and others openly admit to lying about concussion symptoms to get back into a game, the NFL doesn’t want to hear Megatron talking about playing while concussed.

Helmet knock to Pro Football Talk

Larry Fitzgerald: Take Calvin Johnson over me in fantasy because he has better QB

Larry Fitzgerald is widely recognized as one of the best receivers in the NFL, but the six-time Pro Bowler says he would take Calvin Johnson ahead of himself in fantasy football because the Lions have a better quarterback.

“Megatron and Matthew Stafford have a great connection up there in Detroit,” Fitzgerald said in response to a fan’s question. “They put together a phenomenal year — 5,000 yards by Stafford — so I would definitely take Megatron and Matthew Stafford. They got it going. We have some questions right now in Arizona. We’ve got to work training camp out to figure out who our starting quarterback is going to be. So as of today, I think that’s the say choice.”

Fitzgerald is allowing the possibility for Arizona’s quarterback situation to improve, but he’s not hiding his honesty. His reason makes complete sense, too.

Fitzgerald caught 35 touchdowns between 2007-2009 and averaged 98 receptions and 1,311 yards per season during that span with two-time MVP Kurt Warner as his quarterback. In the two years since Warner retired, Fitz has averaged 85 receptions, 1,274 yards and seven touchdowns per season. Those are still standout numbers, but not spectacular like his stats with Warner.

Calvin Johnson meanwhile is teaming with Matthew Stafford to form the best QB-WR duo in football. The matter is really out of Fitzgerald’s hands, and we can’t fault him for stating the obvious.

Here’s video of Fitz making the statement:

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