Quarterback Jon Kitna campaigned for Calvin Johnson, telling the media the Lions should take the best player in the draft. Wide receivers Roy Williams and Mike Furrey campaigned for Calvin Johnson, telling president Matt Millen the Lions needed another weapon.
Now that the Lions have drafted the star wideout second overall, Kitna, Williams, Furrey and their teammates are imagining the possibilities. Furrey said Johnson was "the final piece" to open up the offense.
Kitna said offensive coordinator Mike Martz was playing with "half a deck" last season. Among other issues -- such as injuries on the offensive line -- Martz couldn't find a reliable third receiver, let alone a fourth. He had to pare down the playbook as a result.
"Mike's one of those guys where he has to trust you -- you're going to be there at the right time, you're going to give everything you have," Furrey said. "Otherwise, he'll try to pick another play."
Teams would double-team Williams and Furrey, and they would force the Lions to run in the red zone. Martz could do only so much.
"I remember times in a game him saying, 'Look, this half of our stuff we can't call. We've got to stick right here,'" Kitna said. "It just limits him for a guy who's so creative."
Martz should not be limited any longer. The Lions have added Johnson, Shaun McDonald and Marcus Robinson at receiver, not to mention George Foster and Edwin Mulitalo on the offensive line and Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett at running back.
The Lions won't have to keep tired receivers on the field. They will be able to go three- and four-wide regularly. Teams won't be able to double-team like they did before. That opens up the passing game, and that should help open up the running game.
Kitna said the Lions needed to pressure teams by scoring a lot of points and giving their Tampa Two defense a lead. Furrey said he expected the Lions' offense to start resembling the Rams' offense when it was known as the "Greatest Show on Turf."
"It's going to be wild," Furrey said. "I'm just glad I know the offense, because there's going to be a lot of plays going in. It'll be fun."