Logan Out as Returner, Potentially Done
Detroit Lions return specialist Stefan Logan has had a rocky 2012 on the football field.
Throughout training camp it appeared as if Logan had earned a spot on the offense.
Logan scored a preseason touchdown and had six touches in two games before getting injured. When he returned, Logan struggled to get on the field during the regular season – touching the ball only three times on offense in the first 12 games of the year.
Still, he had a role. He was the team's kick and punt returner, something he had previously excelled at. Although, even his production in the return game dropped off.
This year, Logan has returned 23 kicks for an average of 21.3 yards per return, both career lows. In the punt game, he's improved his average by one yard (9.1 yards) over last year but also has a career high six fumbles.
Logan's struggles seemed to culminate in one moment. In last weekend's loss to Atlanta, the Lions were clinging to slim comeback hopes as Logan lined up to receive a kick after the team forced a safety. Logan received the ball on the four-yard line and took a knee despite having ample opportunity to run.
"It was just a messed up play by me," admitted Logan.
That blunder is coming on the heels of an overall poor season by the four-year vet.
"Its coaches; it's our job to put players in position to make plays," said Schwartz of the lack of production in the return game. "It's player's job to make plays. But then it also reaches a point that if players don't make plays then its coaches jobs to put different players in place there. During an NFL season there's not a lot of opportunity to do that but we'll certainly look at everything."
Logan now has been informed he will not handle kick or punt return duties this weekend and the soon-to-be free agent may be running out of NFL options.
"When you get your opportunities you got to make the best of them," said Logan. "I did make some plays, on offense I got a couple of catches. I'm just adding to my resume as much as I can do. Last three games, I've got in on offense and got a few catches, so I'm just adding to my resume and keep moving forward. Whether I'm with Detroit or another team, I can't do nothing about that. I just got to keep working. Hopefully I'm here, I've been here for three years now and I want to continue to be with my team, my boys and my coaching staff. We'll see what happens after this game."
Calvin Continues to Impress
Lions Receiver Calvin Johnson was selected to his third-consecutive Pro Bowl Tuesday night as he continues to add to the lofty accomplishment list he has compiled in 2012.
Still, with only four wins under his belt this year, he hasn't been able to fully savor the moments as he'd like.
"I'd guess you'd say it's just hard work paying off," said Johnson of the Pro Bowl selection. "Like we've been talking about (the) last few weeks, it's been an unfortunate year. It's something I guess that you can take positive out of the year."
Perhaps the hard work is what has been most impressive. Everyone marvels at Johnson's size, speed, body control, etc, but his hard work is the catalyst behind his record-breaking year.
"He's always taken it up another notch every year. He's taken it up maybe a couple this year," said offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. "He's had to pick up the slack for some guys missing but he gladly does it. It's so impressive what he does but it's more impressive the way he goes about his business. I think that's what sets him apart from a lot of other guys."
Part of Johnson's work ethic is an innate personality trait and part of it was instilled by receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.
"He brought me up in this game, as far as mentally, getting my mindset right week in and week out, taught me a lot of tools of the trade to play receiver," said Johnson. "When I came in here I was raw. First year, I just came in here off of talent. I won off of talent in college. So when you come here, you have to redefine your skill set and he's done a great job of that."
Johnson has drastically improved his route running, technique and ability to read defenses since entering the league in 2007.
Johnson made his first Pro Bowl in 2010 and has made statistical improvements to the game every year since. Perhaps a product of more good advice from his position coach.
"My coach Shawn Jefferson, the first time I made the Pro Bowl, said now that you've made the Pro Bowl you have to play at a Pro Bowl level every week."