USA TODAY Sports
Why did Tim Ryan leave Calvin Johnson off his All-Pro ballot? Let's see what he had to say.
Although Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was named to the Associated Press' NFL All-Pro first team, he was not a unanimous selection. He fell one vote short of that distinction, and to be exact, he only didn't get a vote from FOX's Tim Ryan. As you probably can imagine, there has been quite a bit of backlash against Ryan, but let's at least give him a chance to explain the decision. Here's what Ryan told The Sports Xchange:
"Of course he had a great year and he is a great receiver, but I look at more than statistics and I thought a couple of other receivers had a better season, A.J. Green," Ryan told The Sports Xchange.and
"Johnson was targeted a lot and was often the only thing the Lions had going, but he also dropped a lot of passes and they did lose 12 games. I felt Marshall helped Chicago win games and Green helped Cincinnati win games. I think that is more important than statistics."
Talk about an eye roll-inducing response. The All-Pro team is supposed to be an individual honor. It's about the best players in the league and who had the best season. It's most certainly not just a collection of the best players from the best teams. You can definitely use a number of factors to determine your All-Pro team, but basing your main criteria for a wide receiver on wins and losses is pretty ridiculous.
What's even more ridiculous, as noted by Michael David Smith over at Pro Football Talk, is that the whole drops excuse doesn't even hold up. According to STATS, Johnson had 10 drops in 2012, as did Marshall. Green comes in one spot behind them with one fewer drop in 2012. Despite being targeted 205 times (11 more than Marshall and 41 more than Green) and having 122 catches (4 more than Marshall and 25 more than Green), Johnson essentially had the same number of drops as Ryan's picks for the All-Pro team.
As much as I disagree with someone's picks for awards like this, I can at least respect their opinion if they do a good job of backing it up. In this case, I have zero respect for Ryan's picks, because his reasoning makes zero sense. Johnson was clearly one of the top wide receivers in the NFL in 2012, and bringing up the Lions' record and his number of drops does nothing to disprove that. Nice try, Tim.