There is absolutely no doubt that Detroit Lions elite wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the best in the game, and facing a player like Johnson in the preseason will undoubtedly be good experience for the New England Patriots as we head into the regular season. In Week 3, the starters will most likely be getting more snaps, and the Patriots will be facing Johnson tomorrow after he was held out of Week 2’s game as a precaution. New England Patriots No. 1 receiver Danny Amendola will probably not play tomorrow as a precaution, but his status is still very much up in the air (the injury is very minor, but resting him would also give snaps to rookie wideouts who definitely need them more).
Kyle Arrington probably won’t be matched up against Calvin Johnson, and that’s definitely a good thing for the third-year corner. Not only is Johnson incredibly good to begin with, but the gap in size would just make it unfair. I don’t anticipate Johnson to be lining up in the slot on Arrington, but if Arrington gets snaps out wide, then it would definitely be an experience for Arrington that would likely lead to some lessons. Arrington still needs to work on his coverage ability on the outside, because he just doesn’t have the height or long speed to cover receivers out wide (we saw that last year). While he is great in the slot, his coverage on the outside isn’t good.
Johnson deserves all the praise in the world and received high marks from Arrington, “They don’t make it easy, do they? No, not at all. He’s definitely the, shoot, you really have to know where he is at all times on the field. He’s one of those guys where he just, you know, speed, quickness, hands, length. So he’s the ultimate matchup. So it’s definitely going to be a good challenge for us this Thursday.”
The New England Patriots DBs are preparing for Calvin Johnson, and I want to see them facing him on a lot of snaps. They need the experience of going up against another elite receiver (they have already faced DeSean Jackson and Vincent Jackson, and both wideouts ate this secondary up). Aqib Talib is burn prone, so I want to see how he fares out (Talib is great against possession receivers but has issues against deep threats like D-Jax). I also want to see how guys like Duron Harmon and Adrian Wilson can do if called upon to bracket Johnson, though I doubt a second-team player like Harmon is on the field when Johnson is. By and large, I just want to see how the Patriots deal with another elite wideout, especially when it’s the game’s best.