NFL Detroit Lions

5 Reasons Why Calvin Johnson Belongs In The NFL MVP Discussion

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Calvin Johnson Should Be Considered For NFL MVP

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the greatest wide receiver of all-time? For a while, the question was easy to answer. In fact, it was the one topic that almost all pundits could agree upon. People paid to argue for a living found a common ground when it came to anointing Jerry Rice as the top player at that position. Then Calvin Johnson came along and ruined everything.

The star receiver for the Detroit Lions certainly seems to have many of Rice’s records in his sights. In just his seventh season, Johnson is closing in on 10,000 yards receiving, having racked up 9,187 to date. After seven full seasons in the NFL, Rice was up to 9,072 yards, which puts Johnson a little ahead of the pace. Certainly Johnson has a long way to go before reaching Rice’s 22,895 career receiving yardage mark, but he’s off to a good start. Also, after seven seasons of play, Rice had already hauled in 93 touchdown catches. Johnson, with a few weeks to go, is at 66.

But the award for best receiver of all-time will not be handed out at the end of this season. An NFL Most Valuable Player award will be, and Johnson should be the one to receive it.

When we talk about someone being valuable to a team we have to look at the whole picture. More than just catching the ball, Johnson does things for the Detroit Lions that simply cannot be done by anyone else. Once the dust settles at the end of the season, Calvin Johnson should be the one collecting the hardware for 2013 NFL MVP. Here are five reasons why.

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5. He Blocks

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a rare sight in Detroit to see Magatron putting his big frame in between a defender and a teammate. These aren’t always devastating blows, though he has been known to lay a lick. What he’s really good at is positioning himself for the block. He keeps his feet moving and executes the skill well in order to help his teammates gain those extra yards. He has helped the team amass 1,462 total rushing yards through 13 games.

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4. He Draws Attention Away From Others

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime a defense is getting ready to play Detroit, their meetings are surely littered with comments about No. 81. Schemes are devised in order to slow down this devastating offensive weapon, with bracket coverages sketched on many a chalkboard throughout the league. Dedicating an extra defender to one player creates challenges for all other areas of a defense, including pressuring the quarterback and loading up for the run. Every offensive player benefits when Calvin Johnson is on the field.

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3. He's Missed When He's Gone

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It’s not usually a good idea to bring up injuries when lobbying for an MVP candidate, but glancing at the one game Johnson missed in 2013 shows just how valuable he is to his team. He was sidelined with a knee injury in Week 5 when the Lions faced the Green Bay Packers. The team produced their lowest scoring output of the season with only nine points. It was also their lowest offensive performance in terms of yardage, save for the recent loss to the Eagles in a blizzard. It’s interesting to point out that it was also one of their worst defensive performances on the year, as they gave up 449 total yards.

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2. He Moves The Chains

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Out of his 75 receptions on the year, 62 of them netted the Lions a first down. He is Matthew Stafford’s go-to-guy when they need to move the chains. Defenders are so afraid that he is going to run a fade that the quick slant is available often, and with his size and the timing he and Stafford have mastered the play is almost unstoppable.

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1. He Makes Big Plays

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

So far this season, Johnson has made 20 plays that were over 20 yards long. His ability to go deep assures the entire Detroit Lions organization that they are never out of a football game. Jerry Rice was a legend. But when the game is on the line with two seconds left on the clock, I’m throwing it up to Calvin Johnson, giving him a chance to jump over as many defenders as the defense wants to commit, and taking my chances.