Coordinator Cut-Up: Linehan says Johnson and Stafford adjusted to perfection

Posted Nov 6, 2012

In light of Johnson's injury, he and Stafford's knowledge of the offense helped Lions execute in win at Jacksonville.

Before Sunday’s game in Jacksonville, head coach Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson met on the field to hash out a game plan for their leading receiver and his sore left knee.

“I give Calvin so much credit,” Linehan told “He's not 100 percent. Everybody knows that. He's so tough and such a team player. He'll do whatever he can.

"Even his affect on the game just playing, he knew it would help us win.”

If there were any questions about Johnson's toughness, there shouldn’t be anymore.

He fought through a good amount of pain to still record seven catches and 129 yards in the Lions' 31-14 victory.

It was his 25th 100-plus yard game, a feat reached by only one other player in team history: Herman Moore (34).

“To be honest with you, I thought it was a good game not to play him every down,” Linehan said. “Whether it even be passes, not just taking him out on runs. We rolled receivers a little bit more.”

Linehan said that conversation before the game was more Johnson telling him and Stafford what routes he was comfortable with and which ones gave him less pain.

“Just certain calls, certain directions that we would call," said Linehan.

"He knows the offense so well. He knows what's going to be more conducive to him with how he felt that day so he just switched with Titus.”

Stafford played his part, too, according to Linehan.

“We just rolled with it. And Matt's the perfect quarterback to have because he can orchestrate that,” Linehan said.

“It's pretty rare to have your quarterback thinking about the play call, the defense he has to defeat and where he needs his receiver to be so that he can be the most effective because he's not 100-percent.

“We basically talked through what was going to be effective and what wasn't and did the best we could to try and help that. There were a couple times I think I probably had Calvin in the wrong place, but he still made them work. Calvin can be pretty darn good even when he's not 100-percent.”

Schwartz said Monday that Johnson was no worse for wear coming out of Jacksonville and heading into preparations this week for a key matchup with NFC North foe in Minnesota.

“We’re in the middle of an NFL season, everybody’s going to be dealing with something like that,” he said.

"But the things that he’s had eventually will be put to bed. The only thing is you can’t anticipate what else is coming up. I think every player is going to have to deal with injuries over the course of the season. Calvin’s no different than any of these other guys.”