“JUST THROW IT UP TO CALVIN!”
If you’re like me, that’s probably something you screamed at the television at least once from the years 2007 to 2015.
Calvin Johnson was an NFL cheat code, and one of the easiest plays for him was the goal-line fade, or the “jump ball” in the end zone. Johnson’s freakish stature—6-foot-5—combined with excellent hands made it one of the easier plays for the Lions to score on when near the goal line.
Johnson holds a distinction when it comes to the goal-line fade. According to a Pro Football Focus article from 2018, among receivers who have seen at least 10 attempted fade routes since 2013, only Johnson caught more than half. The average was just 33 percent.
And according to an interesting article this week from ESPN’s Mina Kimes, the league is pretty much starting to give up on the goal-line fade since Johnson’s retirement in 2016.
51 were attempted in 2017, 42 the following year, and just 37 goal-line fades were attempted last season.
And it’s easy to see why: the play has become terribly inefficent. Here are the success rates, according to Kimes’ article:
Kimes got Johnson’s reaction to only 13.5 percent—five attempts—resulting in a catch.
“I’m sorry, only five were caught?” Johnson said. “Maybe somebody could use me ... just post me up.”
Relax, Megatron4Eva1957, he was joking.
Check out the entire article on how the “least efficient passing play” is slowly disappearing from the game.
- The NFL is reportedly banning any post-game interaction between players within six feet, including jersey swaps. No, seriously. And, unsurprisingly, players think it’s hilariously stupid:
Players react to the league reportedly banning jersey trades... pic.twitter.com/abDGCHfmjC— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) July 9, 2020
- Here are some other precautions the league will be taking:
The ban on postgame jersey exchanges was included in NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols that clubs received last night. Other notable changes for 2020:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 9, 2020
- On-field fan seating is prohibited.
- Both teams must travel to the stadium via bus.
- Media will be banned from the locker room. https://t.co/WizWrySFvU
Other game day protocols: Coaches and players won’t be required to wear masks on the sidelines. Everyone else in the bench does have to wear a mask. https://t.co/ovKPcCwaD9— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 9, 2020
- Wednesday, D’Andre Swift was No. 2 on Lance Zierlein’s list of potential Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Thursday, Jeff Okudah landed at No. 5 on his list of Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates.
- File this under “pretty cool”: Barry Sanders answered our Wednesday Question of the Day.
my second game as a pro, we played the @Giants and @LawrenceTaylor came up to me after the game and told me if the team got me a FB I would be tough to stop. I was so star struck I just said thanks. https://t.co/7OLbIZ1dXB— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) July 8, 2020
- Benjamin Raven over at MLive listed the top 10 sack leaders in Detroit Lions history, and No. 1 is far and above the rest of the pack.
- A little self-promotion to end my week of Notes. I joined the Locked on Lions podcast on Tuesday, which you can listen to here. I come in around the 9:45 mark.
I was also part of the Detroit Sports Room roundtable Tuesday night to talk about COVID-19, Sheila Ford Hamp and whether the Lions’ roster is improved from last year: