When Cris Carter was on 'Mike and Mike' in August and listed his group of elite NFL wide receivers, he was terribly remiss in failing to mention Calvin Johnson. A few days later, he backtracked and said that Johnson belonged in the top five, and that was that.
"I believe there’s really four elite wide receivers," Carter said on the Mike and Mike show. "That would be Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Those guys separated themselves over the course of the last several years from the other receivers.
"Now, Calvin Johnson is playing the best football of his career. He’s getting single coverage now, he’s beating single coverage. He had double coverage in the red zone; him and (quarterback Matthew) Stafford have great chemistry together. He is playing at a top-five level, but before this season, he wasn’t better than those other four guys."
So, let's get this straight. Carter's original elite six consisted of Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, DeSean Jackson, and Reggie Wayne. After being taken to task for excluding Calvin Johnson, Carter said he "may have given Reggie Wayne a gift," which would lead one to believe that Johnson -- not Wayne -- was his No. 6 elite wide receiver.
A month and six Calvin Johnson touchdowns in three games later, Carter has inexplicably reduced his elite wide receiver list to four names -- Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, and Roddy White -- and it again does not include CJ.
Yeah, it seems Cris Carter is just really confused and isn't really sure what an elite wide receiver looks like. I mean, look at the production of the receivers Carter pegged ahead of Calvin Johnson during their first four years compared to Calvin's [via commenter John Williams]:
(sorted by touchdowns)
Age G Rec Yds Yds/G TD
27 60 330 4,544 76 34 Larry Fitzgerald
25 60 270 4,191 70 33 Calvin Johnson
27 59 246 3,957 67 28 Greg Jennings
32 61 221 3,109 50 23 Reggie Wayne
24 45 171 3,124 70 17 Desean Jackson
30 61 311 3,953 64 17 Andre Johnson
29 64 230 3,536 55 16 Roddy White
Stats suggest CJ is at worst a top three wide receiver and he had, by far, the worst quarterback efficiency throwing to him his first four years, too. If you're wondering what he could've done with a quarterback like Rodgers, Manning, Schaub or Ryan, you saw it in the first three games of this season.
Would Cris Carter consider himself elite? Here are his stats for his first four seasons in the NFL:
G Rec Yds Avg Yds/G TD
57 116 1,863 16 30 22
Those numbers wouldn't put him in Barkley's five, let alone an elite wide receiver list compared to the names above.
So what could change Carter's mind about Johnson? Stafford wonders, too:
Incidentally, that just might, if Cris Carter thinks of himself as an elite receiver, which he likely does [via Pro Football Talk]:
Carter himself owns the all-time NFL record for consecutive two-touchdown games, with four in a row in 1995. If Johnson ties that record on Sunday, one would think Carter would reconsider his opinion that Johnson is only great in video games, not real football.
Or, as PFT also pointed out, maybe Megatron will need nine or 10 touchdowns in four weeks.