Some call him "Megatron," others call him a matchup nightmare. But no matter what you call Calvin Johnson, one thing is for sure: you better have a plan to contain him.
That test will belong to the Eagles defense later this afternoon, and it's a test the players and coaches have been preparing for all week. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott explained that first and foremost, you must respect what he's capable of doing.
"This guy is extremely talented," McDermott said. "You watch him on film and he can turn the tables in a hurry, not only just going up for the ball, like we saw last week against Chicago, but also run after the catch.
"He's tough to bring down and he can take it to the house, so he brings a tremendous challenge to this defense."
One guy who will have to face the challenge head-on is cornerback Ellis Hobbs. But rather than fear the 6-4 receiver, Hobbs is excited to use Johnson as measuring stick for the Eagles secondary.
"I always talk about measuring up against the best," Hobbs said, "and right now he's one of the best in the league as far as going up and getting the ball. He definitely proved that last week. He's explosive, and you look forward to the challenge."
Eagles rookie safety Nate Allen hasn't faced a receiver quite like Johnson. Let's face it, there aren't too many guys built like a defensive end who have tremendous hands and lightening speed. Allen said that what he lacks in experience, he'll have to make up for with good technique.
"You just have to get the game plan right and get ready," Allen said. You have to be mentally ready for him and make sure you're on top of all your fundamentals. You just try to be in good position. He's a great player, great receiver, you just have to play him tough."
The Eagles will face one of the premier receivers in the game later today, in what will be a great early-season test for this secondary. And by all accounts, they're more than ready for it.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 8:00 a.m., September 19