Lions Insider

10 Questions with Twentyman: When will teams adjust to covering both Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush?

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Lions Insider Tim Twentyman answers 10 questions submitted via his Twitter account including the biggest surprise from Week 1 and the explanation behind the "Calvin Johnson Rule"

Every week during the season I plan to answer 10 good questions I receive throughout the week from my Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman", which is sponsored by Huntington Bank.

Who was the biggest surprise week one? Ankou Reaper (@AnkouReaper)

20man: I don’t know if surprise is the right word, because there were indications this player was going to be good, but I thought left tackle Riley Reiff was really good last week against one of the best defensive ends this league has in Jared Allen.

Allen made a couple plays, which is to be expected, but I thought Reiff handled him for most of the game and was dominant in the run game. He pushed Allen and others around at times.

I can admit that was a matchup I was a little concerned about heading in, but I can tell you I’m not really worried about Reiff moving forward after that performance last week.

Will Calvin Johnson reach the 1600 receiving mark for the third year in a row with the usage of Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and other targets? Ty Dolin (@ty_dolin)

20man: Even with the addition of Reggie Bush, I think Johnson has a good chance to get to 1,600 receiving yards on the year.

I say that because this is an adjustment league. If Bush continues to make plays against two deep coverage and soft run boxes, teams are going to have to account for him. They’ll bring a safety up and that will open things up for Johnson to make more plays down the field.

The next week, teams will try to stop Johnson and there will be alleys for Bush, Nate Burleson and others.

Bush had 191 total yards last week, but let’s not forget Johnson was targeted nine times in the game. He’s going to get his.

Explain the NFL's rule on Calvin's non-TD. He looked more like a runner extending the ball to score, rather than losing control. Joe Friedli (@joefriedli)

20man: Here’s how I interpret the rule and I’ll also include the quote from referee John Parry, who worked the game last week.

Johnson was diving for the ball when he crossed the goal line, which means he hadn’t yet secured the ball and established himself inbounds (or in this case the end zone) or made a football move.

The ball did move in Johnson’s hands when he went to the ground after securing the ball in the air. It’s the dive that’s the key point there. He has to finish that play.

There’s been some controversy regarding the Victor Cruz touchdown in the Giants game and questions as to why that was a touchdown and Johnson’s wasn’t.

Here’s why Cruz’s touchdown is different, in my opinion.

He got two feet down and secured the ball before the end zone and was making a football move to reach across the goal line. I thought Cruz finished the catch and then tried to reach the ball over.

"A player that is going to the ground on his own, which Calvin was on that play, must possess and maintain the possession of the football through the entire act of the catch," Parry said. "The catch did not end in that scenario. When the ball hit the end zone, the ball moved. It rotated. So he didn’t maintain possession of the football."

Coaches seem to have a growing confidence in Joseph Fauria. Is he a pure red zone TE or has he grown into Tony Sheffler’s role of a slot TE? Ben (@NFLions)

20man: Coaches care about one thing: who makes the most plays?

Lions coaches should have a lot of confidence in Fauria moving forward because he caught every pass that was thrown his way last week, including a touchdown.

Actually, Matthew Stafford didn’t see him wide open on a third-down play that could have made his day even better.

Tony Scheffler was targeted just once, and it would have been a tough catch, but he couldn’t make the play.

Fauria made the most of his 11 snaps and I anticipate him getting more in Arizona.

Scheffler still has a big role in this offense and we can’t make snap judgments after one week, but if Fauria continues to make plays, then his role will continue to increase.

What kind of trade value can we get for Mikel Leshoure? Joshua Smith (@CrayolaJosh)

20man: Wow, a guy is inactive for one week and already he’s shipped out of town?

If it’s my decision to make, unless I get an offer I can’t refuse, I hang onto Mikel Leshoure. The NFL season is a long one, especially for running backs, and odds are, the Lions will need Leshoure at some point this season.

What happens if Joique Bell gets hurt? Who runs the power packages? Leshoure is taking his drop in the depth chart like a professional and he’s continuing to be supportive to both Bush and Bell. He’s not a locker room cancer and was a pretty good cheerleader on the sideline last week.

Unless I get a really good deal, which I consider a third-round pick or better, I’d hang onto Leshoure. You never know when you’ll need another back with experience.

When do you project Ryan Broyles being ready to contribute? What do you think he will add to the offense? Nathan Arnett (@Natelit)

20man: Last year he said he felt 100 percent by Week 4, but both he and head coach Jim Schwartz have said he’s ahead of last year’s pace.

Broyles dressed Week 2 in San Francisco last year but didn’t play. I’m guessing he plays as soon as the Lions see a mismatch they really want to exploit in the slot.

The NFL is so much different than the college game in that’s it’s all about matchups. In college, the best players are always on the field. In the NFL, Broyles might be better than, say, a reserve tight end, but if the game plan that week calls for a lot of two-tight end sets, then a receiver might go inactive.

I’m expecting Broyles to be close to 100 percent by Week 3 or so, but depending on the game plan this week in Arizona, we could see him play.

As far as what he brings to the table, a knowledge of how to get open in the middle of the field and someone who can move the chains on third down. He’s just another weapon for Stafford.

Darius SlayCB Darius Slay (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

Are you concerned how an average WR like Jerome Simpson burned Darius Slay for 140 yards? Eric Theisen (@eric_theisen)

20man: First off, it wasn’t all on Slay. Simpson caught a 44-yard pass down the right sideline over veteran Chris Houston that set up the Adrian Peterson’s 4-yard touchdown catch on the next play.

Slay is physically gifted to play the cornerback position in this league, but he simply lacks experience. He’ll learn from every play he gives up and every play he makes – and he’ll do both.

Let’s not forget it was his terrific defense on Simpson that led to the DeAndre Levy interception.

The Lions really put their corners out on an island vs. Minnesota when they dedicated an extra man to stop Adrian Peterson for most of the game.

Slay did some good things and some not so good things, but the Lions knew that was going to be the deal when they started a rookie.

He’ll get better every week.

If Jason Fox' injury is long term, how long before LaAdrian Waddle takes the RT job? Eric Clincy (@EricClincy)

20man: That really depends on Corey Hilliard. I thought Hilliard had an up-and-down game replacing Fox (groin injury) after just 15 plays after Fox suffered a groin injury.

If Fox can’t play Sunday in Arizona then Hilliard will start and Waddle will be the third tackle and sixth offensive lineman active for the game.

It really depends on Hilliard how long Waddle remains a backup.

Also, I don’t get the vibe that Fox’s injury is considered long-term and I thought he was playing well before he was injured.

If Reggie Bush gets banged up and has to miss a game, will Theo Riddick be able to fill that role and keep Bell as the change of pace back? Thomas Bloomer (@cmagtom)

20man: That’s the main reason Riddick is on the roster. He’s gives the Lions another speed option and is very good on special teams.

General manager Martin Mayhew said not having a back-up plan to Jahvid Best last year was one of his greatest regrets. He wasn’t going to let that happen.

Riddick is Bush’s backup plan. His speed and pass-catching ability would allow the Lions to run a lot of the same screens and quick passes and edge rushes they currently run with Bush.

It’s also the reason why Steven Miller is on the practice squad. The Lions have back-up options with speed, which they didn’t have last year.

How long do you think it will take for defenses to adjust to covering both Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush? Sam (@SamSrinivasan21)

20man: We could find out as early as this week. The Cardinals are the guinea pigs. The Lions have put their Week 1 attack on film and it’s up to the Cardinals to decide how they’re going to attack it.

The Cardinals can’t double both Bush and Johnson all the time, as much as they might want to. There are going to be some one-on-one situations and the Lions have to find them and exploit them when they get them.

I’m not sure anyone will find the right formula to stopping both, and if they do, then Burleson, Broyles, Brandon Pettigrew and the rest of the complimentary weapons need to do their job.