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#pounditWednesday, October 4, 2023

Cris Carter Does Not Think Calvin Johnson Is Elite, Shows His Ignorance

Cris Carter is a former eight-time Pro Bowl receiver and two-time All-Pro. He led the league in touchdown catches three times. He was an excellent receiver and a player I’d vote for the Hall of Fame. But he’s showing his ignorance as an NFL analyst.

Appearing on ESPN Radio Friday morning, Carter was asked to name the elite receivers in the NFL. His list included (in order): Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Reggie Wayne, DeSean Jackson, and Roddy White. Omitted from that list was Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

When the point was raised that Calvin was left off the list, Carter explained that was done on purpose. “Calvin Johnson, he’s very, very good at Madden and Tecmo Bowl or whatever they’re playing now. But on film, when I watch film, and I break down the film, he’s not to the point of these guys yet. That doesn’t mean he can’t play. He just not there yet.”

To this point, that’s just opinion. People’s opinions differ, so it’s hard to argue with what he’s saying. But then Carter provides analysis that just shows how clueless he is.

“We’re trying to determine greatness and impact on the NFL game. Calvin Johnson, you don’t have to double-team him to take him out of the game. Now, I made eight Pro Bowls. I made it with five different quarterbacks. They weren’t always great. So I don’t want to hear the excuse that I’m not playing with a great quarterback.

“Larry Fitzgerald the last couple years, he hasn’t played with a great quarterback, but he still gets the numbers. He still gets open. He still makes plays week in and week out. I don’t want to hear about the quarterback situation. That’s all part of the process. Now, [Calvin Johnson] is a good player. He’s just not great yet.”

First off, I’d like to know what tape he’s watching, because it sure as heck isn’t the same one I’ve seen. Every team that plays the Lions doubles Calvin Johnson. Some teams even triple team him. If double-coverage isn’t needed to stop Calvin, why does every team in the league do it?

Secondly, the Larry Fitzgerald argument shows how little Carter follows the game. Fitzgerald’s four best seasons (all 10 or more touchdowns, three with 1400+ yards) were with former MVP Kurt Warner throwing to him. In his three down seasons (all less than 10 touchdowns, two sub-1,000 yards), the team’s starting quarterbacks were Josh McCown, Matt Leinart, and Derek Anderson. Yes, even Larry Fitzgerald does not have elite numbers when he has sub-par quarterbacks throwing to him.

I really don’t need to go much further to prove my point but I will. Calvin Johnson had two down seasons the years he was hurt and playing with poor quarterbacks. The two seasons he played all 16 games he caught 12 touchdowns apiece, despite poor quarterback play. Those are elite numbers. And if that doesn’t prove the case enough, Calvin is going to have some of the best numbers in the league this year. Book it.

Lastly, I’ll point out that the only person who agrees with Cris Carter is Al Davis. Enough said.


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