Stafford: Calvin Johnson can even get better

Calvin Johnson has shattered records, obliterated opponents’ coverage schemes, and established himself as the NFL’s premier receiver.

And his best still may be yet to come.

Appearing on “NFL AM” on Thursday, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said that Johnson believes he could improve going forward.

“I mean, he thinks he can, which is all that matters,” Stafford said, via “That guy works harder than anybody I know, and he thinks he can get better, so I wouldn’t put anything past him. He’s a guy that can obviously run all the routes, inside, outside, make all the catches, and is a smart football player and a really good teammate.”

It’s inconceivable to imagine Johnson getting better. He’s coming off a 2012 campaign in which he eclipsed Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards mark — with broken fingers, no less — and proved not even triple coverage can contain him.

Johnson’s improvement obviously would benefit the offense, but it may partially be for naught, as Detroit is expected to focus on establishing their running attack.

“We’ve got to find a way to be more explosive in the run game and more balanced as well,” Stafford said.

With new additions Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick, paired with Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, explosion is certainly possible.

Though, what’s also possible is Johnson following through and taking his game to the next stratosphere. As Stafford said, nothing should be put past Johnson, who at 27-years-old is just now entering the prime of his career.

The Lions offense should be fun to watch in 2013, and a motivated Megatron only adds to the entertainment value.

(Photo via

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (
  • Don

    Not now that you signed an extension, Stafford..

  • sporter

    I think Calvin Johnson is a great player, certainly deserving of a top receiver spot in the NFL, but yes he can improve from last year. Just think what a difference their record would have been if he made it into the end zone those 6 times (more or less) he was stopped at the one yard line last season. A lot of their games were very close and the difference was a touchdown or less. Stafford did get him the ball in those situations he has to make sure he scores. Hope he and his coaches are watching tape of those games where he was stopped and figure out a way to get him to score in those situations.

  • The most outstanding thing about the Stafford/Johnson tandem is that both players want to be successful, and outstanding competitors. The Lions have long waited for a Quarterback who can put up the numbers of Matt Stafford (with basically one receiver albeit CJ), yet he still fails to get the recognition from the media. CJ is just outstanding in his attitude, willingness to train rookies, desire to eclipse his already incredible performances, yes, last year with multiple broken fingers. Now if the Lions do develop a capable running game with the addition of Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick the potential of this offense could be outstanding, that is if they have a capable OL this year.