Apparently you truly cannot please all of the people all of the time.
Not even a record-setting 1,964 receiving yards by Calvin Johnson this season was enough to win over all 50 media members who casted votes for the Associated Press All-Pro team.
Johnson did get voted onto the first team, but one voter left him off his ballot. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt were the only unanimous selections.
It’s the second straight year Johnson was voted to the team.
“For people to say negative things about the record that Calvin Johnson had is unbelievable,” general manager Martin Mayhew said, without being prompted, at his annual post-season press conference a week ago.
“When you watch the work he put into it, when you watch how teams defended him, every defensive coordinator got up in his meeting on Wednesday and the first thing he says is, ‘We’ve got to stop this guy,’” Mayhew said. “And for him to put those numbers up is just a phenomenal feat. We may never see anything like that again.”
Some, like ESPN’s Jon Gruden, have tried to discredit Johnson’s season by insinuating the yardage was accumulated in “garbage” time, with the Lions playing from behind against prevent defenses.
That is a completely false statement. The Lions lost 10 of their 12 games by eight points or less.
“I think (it is garbage yardage) if it’s late game and you’re down multiple scores and you’re doing it against prevent defense,” coach Jim Schwartz said, when the subject came up in Week 17. “We’ve had very few of those where they were just willing to give up yards. Almost every one of our games has been close where they’ve been challenging all those plays.
“It’s hollow in the fact that we only have four wins and you’d like for that production to translate to wins and you’d like to be able to celebrate that production with wins, but we haven’t been able to do that.”
Schwartz also pointed out that defenses could focus their coverage on Johnson often without impunity because there were few other weapons around him.
“Calvin has improved every single year from when we got here just developing his whole game, running the whole (route tree), going from being sort of a one-dimensional outside receiver to playing the slot, in-breaking routes, runs after the catch,” he said. “You saw it all from him. He can run over a guy, he can out run a guy.
“But we need to be able to do more on offense. We need to do a better job running the ball because that’s one of the ways we can take some pressure off of Calvin. We want to target him. We want to get the ball in his hands — that’s always a good thing for us. But we can give him more room to operate if we run the ball. We can give him more room to operate if other guys can make big plays. We had no other explosives in the game other than Calvin.”
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was named to the second team AP All-Pro team.