Johnson was removed from the game, underwent medical testing on the sideline, and then returned to action soon after. The Lions had their bye week in Week 5.
While Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz says that the team’s medical staff cleared the receiver of any concussion symptoms, Johnson stated this week that he believes he had been concussed.
Whether this is a case of the Lions following questionable medical procedures, or Johnson milking a serious headache, the Philadelphia Eagles are very aware of the situation.
But whether or not the Eagles will take advantage of this is the question.
Of course purposely targeting an opponent’s injury is frowned upon, but it literally happens every single week in the NFL.
If a team has knowledge that an opposing player, let alone a play-maker, is banged up in a specific spot, they are going to go after it. Whether it is a running back with a bad knee, or a quarterback battling a shoulder injury, you will see defenders specifically targeting these soft-spots.
But when it comes to a recently sustained concussion, there is certainly a grey area between so-called ‘gamesmanship’, and pure cruelty.
Especially in the wake of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, and all of the recent concussion and brain injury lawsuits and hoopla, it is not the time for the Eagles to be too obvious in lunging at Johnson’s noggin.
At the same time, if the Eagles force Johnson out of the game on Sunday, they eliminate the single focal point of the Lions’ offense.
Believe me, I am not condoning any attempt at scrambling Johnson’s brain, but I am just saying that I know how NFL teams scheme and operate. And I will not be surprised by anything really.
Another thing to consider is that the Lions will likely be very cautious of any head injuries in this game, because they do not want to be sanctioned by the NFL for failing to follow proper medical protocols in consecutive games.
It may be difficult to specify which hits aimed at Johnson’s head are intentional because there are so many head-to-head collisions in every game, especially involving wide-outs.
There is sure to be plenty of yellow laundry on the field Sunday, as the Eagles’ secondary will be mauling Johnson regardless of injury, in an effort to separate him from the ball. But will we see any blatant knock-out blows aimed above the shoulders?
I think we will.
I also think that some hefty fines will be handed down to the Eagles in the aftermath.
Please follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_RantNFL for all Eagles/NFL insight.