Hey Calvin, thanks for meeting with me. You are much bigger in person, goodness!
I have written down a list of tough questions for you to answer, so let's get right to it.
Tony Meyer: What have you been doing in the offseason thus far?
Calvin Johnson: The first few weeks after the season was over was personal time for me. I went back to Georgia and visited with my family and got away from football for a while. I still watched the playoffs, however, and saw one of my fellow receivers, Larry Fitzgerald, really make a name for himself.
I have been working hard, training and lifting everyday, so that I can hopefully make some noise this season like Mr. Fitzgerald did last season.
TM: How do you feel about the acquisition of Matthew Stafford?
CJ: Matthew is a very talented quarterback, and I think he is going to help our team in the near future. Daunte Culpepper is our quarterback right now, though, and he and I have been putting work in together in the offseason.
If Matthew dedicates himself to working as hard as he can and doing everything possible to help this team, they he and I will have no problems.
TM: What positives did you take from last season's struggles?
CJ: I hate losing. Last season was hard on everyone, but I took it especially hard. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize what needs to be done to be successful.
While it didn't show in our win/loss record, there were a lot of positives last season. Kevin Smith emerged as a reliable running back, and we did some good things in the passing game. We just need to learn how to play a complete game. We need to learn how to win as a team.
TM: You had a breakout season in 2008; what specific things can you do to become even better than last year?
CJ: I have focused this offseason on run blocking and route running. If you look at a team like the Steelers last season, you will see their wide receivers throwing devastating blocks down the field. That can turn a 15 yards gain on the ground into a 50-yarder.
I have been studying guys like Jerry Rice and Torry Holt a lot this offseason. What set them apart from their peers was their ability to run crisp, precise routes.
The defensive back never knew where they were going. I have been working on my quickness and footwork hard this offseason and I feel that I will be a more complete receiver in 2009.
TM: Finally, what do you expect from the 2009 Detroit Lions?
CJ: I feel like 2008 was light years ago. We have come into this season with a fresh start, and Coach Schwartz has preached to us to leave last season in the past. I feel like we have made some smart moves and brought in guys who are hungry and want to turn this team into a contender.
I think we have enough talent to compete with anyone in this league, and I feel that when our offense is clicking we are really tough to stop. I am not going to make any predictions like out former quarterback, but I will say that the 2009 Lions will ignite the city of Detroit and bring excitement to our loyal fans.
Thank you so much Calvin! You have made a believer out of me.
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