Coordinator Cut-Up: Linehan wouldn't be surprised if Johnson got to 2,000 receiving yards

Posted Dec 4, 2012

Linehan has been around Johnson long enough that he isn’t surprised at much of anything Megatron does these days. Even when that includes a run at the history books.

Scott Linehan has a better view than anyone else to marvel at receiver Calvin Johnson. Now in his fourth season as the Lions’ offensive coordinator, Linehan has been around Johnson long enough that he isn’t surprised at much of anything Megatron does these days.

Even when that includes a run at the history books.

"I've seen (it before), both he and Randy (Moss), one of two receivers that have had 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns,” Linehan said. “I've seen those kind of things. You really don't get caught up in it. You follow it because you hear about it.

“That receiving number ... we're not about individuals, we're not trying to put a game plan around guys getting individual records, but certainly would love to see it.

"Nobody better than Calvin to be able to have an opportunity to help our team win while he's getting in position to maybe break history.”

Johnson is chasing the single-season receiving yards record of 1,848 set by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in 1995.

Johnson has 1,428 yards on the season and needs to average 105 yards per game to get the record. Johnson is currently averaging 119 per game.

Johnson has been on some kind of tear through the first 12 games of the season, but his gaudy stats haven’t been secluded to just this season.

The last 16 times Johnson has taken the field (including last year’s playoff game at New Orleans), he has 122 receptions for 2,199 yards (137.5 avg.) with 11 touchdowns. He’s averaged 18.0 yards per reception, and he has 24 catches of 25 yards.

In those 16 games, he has 12 100-yard games, 10 125-yard games, six 150-yard games and four 200-yard games.

“I don't think anyone thought there were going to be three or four 5,000 yard passers in one season,” Linehan said of the possibility that Johnson could get to 2,000 receiving yards this season.

“I think it's becoming more realistic now. I just think it's really hard for Calvin because of how many people are covering him on every play. I don't know if that's always been the case. Defense's are very in tune to where he is from the start of the game to the finish. They're still doubling, tripling him. For him to be this productive considering… to have a game like that knowing that we were down in receivers in a lot of spots, just really says a lot about him.

“Our goal is to win the next four games and along the way it would be great if he could give it a run."

Linehan also spoke on his disappointment the offense couldn’t finish the game on the field with their last possession.

The offense failed to convert on a third-and-5 with two minutes remaining in the game and leading by a score. It allowed the Colts to get the ball back and they eventually moved down the field and scored with no time remaining to win the game.

"You want to finish the game with the ball in your hands and we made an attempt,” Linehan said of the last drive.

“We flipped the field and were close to hitting Calvin but we get the penalty, flip the field. We're managing a lot of things in that situation, but you'd like to have been able to have the ball in your hands at the end of the game. That's the way it works, but if you want to win, you have to produce in those situations.”

Linehan also said running back Joique Bell is earning himself more touches every week with continued good play in both the run and pass game.

Bell’s 67-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest of the season for the Lions and set up a Jason Hanson field goal that gave them a 33-21 lead at the time.

Bell has 335 rushing yards (5.7 avg) and 333 receiving yards this season with three touchdowns.

“I think we talked about how he did in preseason,” Linehan said of Bell. “The more he played, the more he produced and that hasn't changed. It's been that way all year.

"The way he ran the ball and has been playing certainly gives him an opportunity now, I think for more opportunities.”