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Calvin Johnson: If Matthew Stafford can get receivers the ball, Lions could be good

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Yates disagrees with Stafford about Lions' offense (1:20)

ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates doesn't necessarily agree with QB Matthew Stafford that the Lions' offense will be tougher to defend without defenses being able to key on Calvin Johnson, but he does say Detroit's receiving corps will be tough to bring down. (1:20)

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Matthew Stafford said this week the Detroit Lions might be tougher to defend with his former security blanket, Calvin Johnson, retired.

On Saturday, when Johnson spoke for the first time since officially retiring in March, the receiver of so many passes from Stafford didn’t completely disagree.

“I felt it should have been easier because they were going to double me a lot of the time, especially in certain situations, so that’s a breakout time for somebody to make something happen,” Johnson said. “That’s one-on-one. That’s what you want.

“...This year, I don’t know who, if anybody, is going to get double-teamed so I think they have the playmakers so if Matt can get them the ball and they can make plays, they can be good, man.”

The Lions are restructuring their offense following Johnson’s retirement -- although it might have happened anyway with coordinator Jim Bob Cooter able to have a full offseason to implement his philosophies. Johnson played nine seasons with Detroit and holds almost every significant receiving record in franchise history along with the NFL’s single-season receiving mark at 1,964 yards.

Johnson’s thoughts on the matter somewhat echo what Stafford said on SiriusXM Radio this week, when he said it could be tougher for defenses because teams won’t know who the Lions will be throwing to on a particular play.

With Johnson out of the lineup, there is definitely truth to that, although it’s tough to see how Detroit would have a better receiving corps without one of the best receivers in NFL history.

As for that receiver, he hasn’t paid much attention to football or the Lions since retiring -- a decision he made and told his family about prior to the 2015 season. But even though he’ll be watching football as a spectator for the first time in over a decade, he wants to see his former team have success.

“I’ll be watching for sure,” Johnson said. “...I’m hoping they’ll do good.”