EARLY BIRD: Johnson can strike from any position

EARLY BIRD: Johnson can strike from any position
December 13, 2013, 7:00 am
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Ravens defense describes Megatron

EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens, starting a long weekend before their Monday night game in Detroit.

Two-minute topic: The Lions move Calvin Johnson frequently, which will make him more difficult for the Ravens to defend.

OWINGS MILLS – When the Ravens watch Johnson on film, they see him line up wide left, wide right, or in the slot. Johnson’s versatility is one thing that makes him so difficult to stop. He is second in the NFL in receiving yards (1351) behind Josh Gordon of the Browns (1400 yards). Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the team has done whatever it takes to get Johnson open.

“You need to be able to move him around, because if he is stationary, it’s a lot easier for defenses to zero in on where he’s going to be,” Schwartz said. “The Ravens know what he looks like. They know he wears No. 81, so they’re going to find him wherever he is.”

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said he would like to shadow Johnson all over the field. But that will probably not happen.

“We don’t move around a lot because we’ve got a lot of confidence in our corners,” Smith said. “Whatever the game plan we bring is on Monday night, that’s how we’re going to bring it. If they ask us to move and do things, we’re always going to be willing to do that.”

That means Smith, Lardarius Webb, and Corey Graham will all have a shot to shadow Johnson, with help from safeties James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam. By Monday, the Ravens will have studied Johnson’s tendencies thoroughly. But it still won’t be easy to stop him.

Morning thought: “I’m actually thrilled about it, I’m not going to lie. Being inside on the fast turf, no weather. It’s going to be perfect for both teams, so both teams should be at their best.” Smith, talking about the Ravens playing indoors Monday for the first time since the Super Bowl.

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