With 369 yards receiving, Calvin Johnson leads the NFL, yet less than a third of that production has come during the first half. In the Lions' most-recent game, Johnson finished the first half with just one reception for 6 yards before exploding in the second half to finish the game with 10 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Two losses through three games can make any team re-evaluate what it is doing, and the Lions are no different. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Detroit Free Press that the teams wants to try to get Johnson the ball earlier in games, so as long as that doesn't mean forcing it unnecessarily.
"We've had probably more carries the first three games than we have, probably, in the first three games of any of the seasons I've been here -- for the same reason that Calvin's not having a lot of early production," Linehan said. "But we're going to work on improving that."
Just so long as improving that doesn't require forcing it into double or triple coverage. A two-time AP All-Pro, Johnson often demands plenty of attention, and Linehan said it trying to force things is "not a good philosophy."
"I think it's really more key that we continue to make the adjustments we're making so that his impact is still very effective as the game goes on, because you can't tell the quarterback to, ‘Hey, get the ball to him,' if they're taking two or three guys to cover him. These other guys got to come through for our offense, and we've got to continue to do that."
Johnson finished the 2011 season with 96 receptions for 1,681 yards with 16 touchdowns, each ranking him in the top four in the NFL.