I love being able to connect with fans through social media and my website.
Not too long ago — before I became a pro athlete — I was a fan of this sport and I would always tweet to players, or hope to meet them at games and have a conversation with them or get a pair a gloves or something. I still am a fan of some players in the NBA who I’d like to meet and interact with. So I know what it’s like to be in the fan’s shoes, that’s why I take pride in interacting with my fans. I just think about how I’d like to be treated by other athletes, and that’s how I approach interacting with my fans.
For example, one fan on Twitter named Dustin sent me a bunch of great pictures that he took of me, so I asked him if he could send me a disc of all the pictures he’s taken of me. In return, I signed and sent him a pair of cleats and a pair of gloves I wore in a game. That was just my way of thanking him for the pictures he gave me. Hopefully he enjoys them.
Through interacting with a lot of Packers fans on social media, I’ve learned that they are a very loyal group. Regardless of the situation, you can see the real Packers fans staying true to their players. They always have our back when opposing fans tweet stuff at us. You’ll see Packers fans jumping on them and supporting us, and I appreciate that.
I take a lot of motivation from the positive things that fans send me, especially when it’s them sending a prayer or something like that. I try to retweet a lot of them, and not just the ones that say “you had a good game.” The ones who say “I’m praying for you and your wife” or “God bless you and your family” — those mean a lot.
I hope that fans can see that I am a genuine man. I’m a family man, I’m a Christian and I put God first in everything I do. I always try to mention God and always having faith when I tweet because through faith anything is possible. I truly believe in the Lord and having faith, and just giving my all, especially when I’m out there on the field.
We have a big game this week against a divisional foe, and we’re ready for a tough fight.
We really didn’t change up too much coming out of the bye. In the locker room, there is no panic at all. We really just feel that we let two games slip out of our hands. We believe it wasn’t that those teams were that much better than us, but that we left some plays out on the field and made some mistakes. We’ve corrected those things, and we’re ready to move on.
Coach McCarthy understands that we’ve been in this situation before, so there’s no need to panic. The first quarter of the season just ended. We were 1-2 last year and only lost five games all year. We just have to refocus and from here on out, go into every week thinking we have to go 1-0 this week. As long as we do that, we’ll start to get wins in bunches. Any time you can put together four wins, five wins in a row, good things are going to happen.
We’re ready to play that Packers Football game that we know we can play. We just want to get the win this week and go from there. Everyone knows the situation that is ahead and what we need to do this week, especially since it’s a division game.
No matter what our record is, these division games are important because they count double. When we play Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota, it’s always an intense game. One of the reporters brought up that the Lions haven’t won at Lambeau Field since 1991, but we don’t put too much into that. It does go to show that we don’t like losing at home, especially in divisional games.
Divisional teams do have a better sense of each other because we play each other twice a year. Most of the personnel and coaching is the same over there as it has been in the past few years, and the same goes for us. We all know what to expect from each other on the field. It’s going to be a grind, and we know we have to be ready to fight.
It’s a new year, and the Lions are night and day better than they were in 1991 and other years past. They’re not going to be a pushover in this game.
When you talk about the personnel of the Lions on offense it has to start with Calvin Johnson. Our defensive backs room respects him a lot as a player. Truthfully I believe, among receivers in this league, there’s Calvin Johnson and then there’s everyone else. That’s not meant as an insult to other receivers. His attributes are just that ridiculous.
He’s 6-5, can jump out the gym and has the wingspan of a man who is 7-feet-tall. And he’s not 6-5, 205. He’s 6-5, 240. If you were to just look at Calvin, the way he is built, you would probably think he is a basketball player. He’s a tight end playing receiver, and that’s difficult to guard.
He also has incredible speed. One play that stood out to me on his reel was one he made against Arizona earlier this year, where he caught a slant at the 8-yard-line. You figure the guy is so tall he can’t be that fast, but he outran Arizona’s defense and scored a touchdown. That pretty much explains Calvin for you.
You might be able to run with him initially, but eventually 10 yards down the field, his stride is going to open up and it’s hard to catch up after that. He can run and jump with the best, so it’s a challenge to defend him. During film session we talk about how he is as a receiver, what we can do to slow him down and what he likes to do route wise.
I’ve never had to defend him personally, but just watching him on film, it seems tough. He’s a strong, physical guy. With smaller receivers, guys who are 6-1 or 6-2, when you get your hands on them, you can run with them and slow them down. Calvin is so big and strong that he can just push you out of the way if you don’t stand your ground or have the right technique. It’s tough, but you still have to be physical and handsy with him.
A lot of receivers with that kind of talent will talk a lot during the game, but from what I know of Calvin, he doesn’t really talk trash. He’s a quiet guy who lets his play do the talking. Just by the way he is on the field, not talking much, you can tell he enjoys the game of football and he’s not a dirty player either, which is good. He respects the game.
A NEW DYNAMIC
We can’t totally key in on Calvin because Detroit has plenty of other threats.
Their big addition this year is Reggie Bush, and he changes the dynamic of their team a lot. When Reggie went to Detroit, I knew they were going to be in a good position. Reggie is a great running back who brings different elements to an offense, and he’s doing that with Detroit. Now they can run the ball extremely well. Last game, I think he had over 100 yards against a really good Bears defense. That’s a difference maker for them.
Reggie also isn’t just a running back. He’s a great target out of the backfield, and they love to get the ball in his hands as much as they can. You can’t just double team Calvin now, because that leaves a one-on-one with Reggie Bush and a linebacker and that’s not a good matchup for the defense.
The biggest factor with Reggie is how elusive he is. The cuts that he makes are cuts that a receiver would make in the open field, and he’s a running back doing it. The hole might only be arm’s length wide, and he’s making people miss in that little bit of space. He does a great job making people miss.
You can’t hesitate with him, and you can’t be afraid. Once you see it, go get it. He’s in the NFL, too, a former first round pick, a top five pick and he’s going to make some plays. You just have to make more plays than he does.
Having Calvin and Reggie there helps Matt Stafford a lot, but he’s very good as well. Stafford is a smart quarterback and after watching film, it looks like this year he’s doing a better job of not making too many mistakes. Once he gets in rhythm, it’s hard to stop him. He’s only been sacked three times and only thrown three interceptions, which is helping them. As a result of that, they’re 3-1, coming off a win over Chicago.
Stafford also is pretty good at spreading the ball around and trusting his receivers.
I don’t want to give up our game plan, but hopefully, we can slow them down with our front seven. Having Clay and A.J. out there, with our front playing as good as they are, can throw Stafford off rhythm a little bit and get to him before Calvin gets going.
Then once our crowd gets into it, hopefully that shakes it up a little bit too. Just make sure you guys show up loud and ready to go. It’s an afternoon game, a big division game for us. We have to protect Lambeau and get ready to roll.