Basketball / Sports

Focus on Calvin Johnson hasn't meant success for Lions receivers

Every receiver is usually "excited" or very excited when he first joins the Lions for one big reason: He believes all the attention on Calvin Johnson will create countless chances for him to catch balls and make plays.

Golden Tate recently told ESPN's "First Take" that he has "a chance to catch a ton more balls" against second-tier cornerbacks. But if you look at the Lions' No. 2 receivers since Johnson became the team's No. 1 receiver in 2008, their production has dropped after Johnson ascended or they joined the team.

Roy Williams was supplanted by Johnson as the Lions' top receiver in 2008. Williams went from averaging a career-best 5.7 receptions per game during Johnson's 2007 rookie season to averaging 3.4 receptions in five games in '08 before he was traded to Dallas.

In 2008, Bryant Johnson averaged 2.8 receptions with San Francisco. In 2009, he averaged 2.2 catches with the Lions.

Nate Burleson, who had a good run in Detroit as Johnson's backup, went from averaging 4.8 catches with Seattle in 2009 to 3.9 with the Lions in 2010 and 4.6 in '11.

Heck, even poor Dennis Northcutt made out worse. Jacksonville traded the slot receiver to the Lions in 2009 as Detroit was rebuilding from the 0-16 season. Northcutt figured a bad team meant plenty of opportunity. But he went from averaging 3.1 catches in 2008 with the Jags to 2.2 with the Lions in '09.

And what did Northcutt tell the Free Press after Jacksonville traded him to the Lions? You guessed it: "I'm excited."

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