The feats of Calvin

By Chris McCosky
Updated: December 30, 2010

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Calvin Johnson has done something that hasn’t been done in 12 years.

He will start at wide receiver in the Pro Bowl despite having three different quarterbacks throw to him this season.

“People don’t realize that every one of us throws totally different,” said quarterback Shaun Hill. “Balls come out different, they spin different, there’s different velocity; that’s tough on receivers. The timing is different. Calvin having the year he’s had, it just makes it that much more impressive.”

Hill, Drew Stanton and Matthew Stafford have all contributed to Johnson’s 77 receptions this season. That’s one shy of his career best (78). He has also matched his career high with 12 touchdowns and his 1,120 yards are 191 short of his career-best 1,311.

The last Pro Bowl starting receiver to have three different quarterbacks was Jimmy Smith in 1998.

“It says a lot about Calvin, our quarterbacks and our offensive system,” coach Jim Schwartz said, “that he was able to keep his production up, that he was able to make the plays he made with all that went on with our offense this year.”

Johnson, of course, downplayed that.

“Each quarterback has their own different style but we get to work with them in the offseason and you understand what their tendencies are and what they do well,” Johnson said. “You are able to adjust.”

As impressive as Johnson’s production has been individually, how about the Lions offense, which has managed 22.8 points a game despite all the turmoil at quarterback?

“I said this to our whole offense the other day,” Hill said. “It’s tough to go from one quarterback to another. It’s really, really tough to go from one quarterback to another, back to the first one, back to the other one and then to a third quarterback. All the things they’ve had to go through, they’re to be commended for how well they’ve handled it.”