Notebook: Johnson even-keeled about matchup with Peterson

Posted Dec 13, 2012

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said he's been looking forward to this week's matchup with Lions receiver Calvin Johnson since "the schedules first came out" and it was revealed he'd have Megatron at home toward the end of the season.

"Oh yeah, it's definitely going to be a fun matchup and a matchup I've been waiting for pretty much all year," Peterson said in a conference call this week. "You know, I want to see how I match up against one of the top guys in the league. Going against Calvin Johnson, he's a complete receiver, you know, he has the size, he's physical and he has speed. So, it's going to be a fun matchup that I can't wait for."

Peterson then called it "the biggest matchup of my young career" and said he's looking at Sunday as a way of seeing where he tallies up against the league's best.

Johnson was asked about the impending matchup with Peterson on Thursday.

"Definitely talented player," Johnson said of the second-year corner. "I see he's got some good straight line speed so it will be a nice little matchup."

Johnson was then asked if he ever gets geared up to play some of the best corners in the league, who Peterson is already considered in just his second season in the league.

"I don't," he said. "To me, I have a job to do. It's not facing him, it's just how well I can do my job 60 minutes. That's my opposition right there."

It's just business as usual for the best player in the game, which doesn't surprise Lions head coach Jim Schwartz one bit.

"That's Calvin's personality," he said. "He doesn't change. He's the same guy in training camp that he is on Sunday.

"I think that's one of the things that really serves him well is he doesn't change his personality. He's a competitor. He dives for balls out in practice and you have to hold your breath every time he dives for a ball in here and during the season and stuff like that. It's just he's up for any challenge. He doesn't have to make it depending on who the opponent is."

While Peterson certainly is the catalyst behind the league's fifth-ranked pass defense, he's not the only Cardinals player in the back end of that defense the Lions need to concern themselves with.

Nine different players have recorded an interception for the Cardinals and their total of 19 as a team is the third-most in the NFL.

"They're very opportunistic," Schwartz said. "They've intercepted a couple passes first play of the game. They've set their offense up; their offense has scored a bunch off of those turnovers.

"They're a big-play defense; sacks and interceptions in particular (is) what's kept them in their games. They've been a top 10 defense pretty much the whole year and they'd be the one making turnovers. That's been definitely been keeping them in the game."

It doesn't sound like Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is taking that unit too lightly, either.

"Their whole secondary is big, physical, active," he said. "I think they have 19 or 20 interceptions this year, nine fumble recoveries. They're getting turnovers, sacking the quarterback quite a bit too.

"This is a really good defense we're playing. You take last week's game out of it, they're a top 10 defense in every category. The only thing they're not top 10 in right now I think is yards. Last week was kind of an anomaly for them. This is a good defense with a really good personnel."

The Lions are the better team on paper, but turnovers can always be the great equalizer in the NFL. Stafford and the Lions are all too aware of that.