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The Dallas Cowboys clearly do not have a cornerback on their roster capable of covering Calvin Johnson, but owner/general manager Jerry Jones thinks that one from their past would have been up to the task.
|Former Cowboys cornerback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders would have been able to slow down Calvin Johnson, team owner Jerry Jones believes.|
Two days after Johnson torched the Cowboys for 329 receiving yards, the most in a non-overtime game in NFL history, Jones was asked on his radio show whether he thought even Deion Sanders in his prime could shut down "Megatron."
"Yes, I do. That's just it," Jones said Tuesday on KRLD-FM. "Deion has such catch-up speed and he had real good center-field ability, and I mean that ... in [a] football sense. He could really play the ball, and he had such ability to get into position to play the ball.
"Now, you're talking about the greatest cover guy maybe that's played this game. I've seen where he's been declared the greatest cover guy. Hall of Famer. But I do think he could do a real good job on Johnson. Johnson's going to get some probably, but I think he could do a great job. Deion's a great player."
The Cowboys gave Brandon Carr the assignment of covering Johnson on Sunday, often without any help. Johnson dominated Dallas, catching 14 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown in the Lions' 31-30 win.
Sanders, who played for the Cowboys from 1995 to 1999 during a 14-year career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, seemed to indirectly address the issue Monday on Twitter.
After listing several receivers from his era, Sanders tweeted:
Fans it's not fair to compare Then to Now! I realize it's fun and these kids can play but This Ain't THAT. Truth— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) October 29, 2013
In a separate tweet, Sanders added:
So please stop asking me can I cover these kids 2day. They are GREAT. But I played against Receivers and Quarterbacks whom shaped this game!— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) October 29, 2013
Johnson had his 14 receptions on 16 targets -- and one of the missed receptions was a ball that actually hit his hands, was tipped up and then intercepted. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday that he thought Johnson could have finished the game with even more yards.
"That first third down of the game, he almost tipped the ball to himself, which would have been another circus, amazing catch," Schwartz said. "With a guy like Calvin, you tend to look at that as a missed opportunity.
"Somebody else, you wouldn't even think that. He's a big-play machine. When he's covered, he's still open."
Carr saw most of Johnson's great performance up close and personal, but he maintained Monday that his confidence is not in tatters.
"I learned a lot for myself within that game. Some things I could have done differently. Some things I was proud of myself for doing. At the end of the day, I stood in there and I fought and that's all you can ask for," he said.
"I'm going to get better as time goes, we're going to get better as a unit, but it definitely hasn't shaken my confidence. It might have boosted it. It might sound crazy, but I learn from games like that. It's time to move on and go on again."
ESPN.com Lions reporter Michael Rothstein and ESPN.com Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report.