Calvin Johnson Welcomes Seahawks' Challenge

The Seattle Seahawks believe they match-up well with Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson - a claim Johnson is willing to test on Sunday.

ALLEN PARK -- The Seattle Seahawks might pose the most challenging matchup to the Detroit Lions offense that will come in 2012.

Yielding less than 300 yards per game, the fifth-ranked Seahawks defense will attempt to thwart the efforts of the Lions fourth-ranked offensive unit, which is outputting over 400 yards per contest.

This matchup should be one of the most intriguing of the week, as it will pit one of the league's most talented (as well as largest and most physical) defensive backfields against the Lions prolific passing attack, which features one of the game's best in wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

The Seahawk defensive backs should present the Lions with a conundrum they have not previously faced.

First of all, they're the tallest corner tandem in the League. 6-4, 6-2; (S Kam) Chancellor, I don't know how tall he is, he might be 6-3," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. "That's like a junior college basketball team. They've got some length and some size. They play physical. I think it's their length that's important to the way that they play. It's hard to throw the ball over top of them because they're, No.1, tall and, No. 2, long arms to go along with it. They've done a good job for them."

So far this season, the Seahawks have played a defensive system that predominately features a single-high safety, with range that is capable of covering a lot of ground, with the outside cornerbacks re-routing the receivers.

"I think it buys time for their rush," said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Seahawks defensive strategy. "They try to, not always, re-route the receiver at the line of scrimmage. If it's a man call for them then they're going to come up and utilize that because they got a deep post player so they're protected on the deep part of the field and they're playing for the short and they can do that because they know that the range of that free safety is very, very good back there. So, I think that's what they're trying to get done.

"And then when they play their three-deep zone they're basically trying to squeeze the middle of the field and really force lower percentage passes. And as long as they're able to do that and match up, that's why they've had success. I don't know of any category that they're not one of the top five in the League."

Whether or not the Seahawks employ this strategy against the Lions or conform to the deep Cover-Two shell others have presented to the Lions remains to be seen but regardless of the strategy the size at corner should help the Seahawks matchup with Johnson.

"Well, we're closer to him than everybody else is," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll of the matchup with Johnson. "They only have to look up a little bit. It'll be interesting to see how our guys do. They respect the heck out of him, know he's a great football player, and they're going to try to do their stuff to play as well as they can. We'll see what happens, you know. I can only imagine when the corners that are 5'10" or 5'11" are looking up at him. I don't know how difficult it is. But hopefully it'll help us some because we're going to need all the help we can get."

Adding to this matchup's intrigue is brash cornerback Richard Sherman. The second-year player already has grabbed headlines due to his defiant demeanor towards Tom Brady and didn't even wait until game time to fire his first shot at Johnson.

This week, Sherman changed his twitter handle to "Optimus Prime", a smug slight towards Johnson, who is notoriously known for his nickname "Megatron".

"A self given nick name?," Johnson rhetorically asked after being informed of Sherman's name change. "If that's who he wants to be, that's cool."

The last time Johnson was publically called out was a year ago, when Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan indicated that his defensive players faced better wideouts during practice than they would in an upcoming matchup against the Lions.

In that game, Johnson had eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns, propelling the Lions comeback.

This could be more bulletin board material for the Lions receiver.

"I can use it, I can definitely use it for motivation, no doubt" said Johnson. "Those things, you have to sometimes take with a grain of salt but at the same time they can be extra motivation for you."

This one should be fun to watch.

ALLEN PARK -- The Seattle Seahawks might pose the most challenging matchup to the Detroit Lions offense that will come in 2012.

Yielding less than 300 yards per game, the fifth-ranked Seahawks defense will attempt to thwart the efforts of the Lions fourth-ranked offensive unit, which is outputting over 400 yards per contest.

This matchup should be one of the most intriguing of the week, as it will pit one of the league's most talented (as well as largest and most physical) defensive backfields against the Lions prolific passing attack, which features one of the game's best in wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

The Seahawk defensive backs should present the Lions with a conundrum they have not previously faced.

First of all, they're the tallest corner tandem in the League. 6-4, 6-2; (S Kam) Chancellor, I don't know how tall he is, he might be 6-3," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. "That's like a junior college basketball team. They've got some length and some size. They play physical. I think it's their length that's important to the way that they play. It's hard to throw the ball over top of them because they're, No.1, tall and, No. 2, long arms to go along with it. They've done a good job for them."

So far this season, the Seahawks have played a defensive system that predominately features a single-high safety, with range that is capable of covering a lot of ground, with the outside cornerbacks re-routing the receivers.

"I think it buys time for their rush," said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Seahawks defensive strategy. "They try to, not always, re-route the receiver at the line of scrimmage. If it's a man call for them then they're going to come up and utilize that because they got a deep post player so they're protected on the deep part of the field and they're playing for the short and they can do that because they know that the range of that free safety is very, very good back there. So, I think that's what they're trying to get done.

"And then when they play their three-deep zone they're basically trying to squeeze the middle of the field and really force lower percentage passes. And as long as they're able to do that and match up, that's why they've had success. I don't know of any category that they're not one of the top five in the League."

Whether or not the Seahawks employ this strategy against the Lions or conform to the deep Cover-Two shell others have presented to the Lions remains to be seen but regardless of the strategy the size at corner should help the Seahawks matchup with Johnson.

"Well, we're closer to him than everybody else is," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll of the matchup with Johnson. "They only have to look up a little bit. It'll be interesting to see how our guys do. They respect the heck out of him, know he's a great football player, and they're going to try to do their stuff to play as well as they can. We'll see what happens, you know. I can only imagine when the corners that are 5'10" or 5'11" are looking up at him. I don't know how difficult it is. But hopefully it'll help us some because we're going to need all the help we can get."

Adding to this matchup's intrigue is brash cornerback Richard Sherman. The second-year player already has grabbed headlines due to his defiant demeanor towards Tom Brady and didn't even wait until game time to fire his first shot at Johnson.

This week, Sherman changed his twitter handle to "Optimus Prime", a smug slight towards Johnson, who is notoriously known for his nickname "Megatron".

"A self given nick name?," Johnson rhetorically asked after being informed of Sherman's name change. "If that's who he wants to be, that's cool."

The last time Johnson was publically called out was a year ago, when Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan indicated that his defensive players faced better wideouts during practice than they would in an upcoming matchup against the Lions.

In that game, Johnson had eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns, propelling the Lions comeback.

This could be more bulletin board material for the Lions receiver.

"I can use it, I can definitely use it for motivation, no doubt" said Johnson. "Those things, you have to sometimes take with a grain of salt but at the same time they can be extra motivation for you."

This one should be fun to watch.


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