NFC North High Energy Player of the Week

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
3:00
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 8.

Calvin Johnson is built like a tight end, and so far this season he is playing like one -- to the direct benefit of the Detroit Lions.

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
AP Photo/Rick OsentoskiCalvin Johnson caught three touchdown passes in the Lions' win over Washington.
Heralded for his 4.35 speed during the 2007 draft, Johnson has morphed this season into an intermediate-range receiver to ensure a maximum number of touches in the Lions' scheme. He caught touchdown passes of 13, 10 and 7 yards Sunday in the Lions' 37-25 victory over the Washington Redskins and is once again among the most productive receivers in the NFL.

The goal of any offense should be to get the ball into the hands of your best players, and to this point the Lions are excelling. Johnson has been targeted a team-high 69 times in seven games, including 15 against the Redskins, and is helping the Lions move the ball in ways other than 70-yard bombs.

In fact, 31 of Johnson's 38 receptions have gone for less than 20 yards and only one has been longer than 40. His 14.2-yard average per catch is more than a yard lower than his career average, but overall he is on pace for career highs in receptions and touchdowns.

At times stymied by deep Cover 2 defenses, the Lions have found a way to get a high-energy receiver the ball on a frequent basis. Kudos.

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/4
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Monday, 9/8