|Johnson helps Lions run ball, but is it enough?|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 23 September 2008 23:18|
His teammates aren't sure if that's going to be enough to end their slide.
Johnson ran for 83 yards in the Lions' 31-13 loss to San Francisco and scored Detroit's only touchdown on a 34-yard screen pass. He saw limited action in the first two games - losses to Atlanta and Green Bay - but took over for rookie Kevin Smith early against the Niners.
``It was hard trying to get the play book down, but I have it now,'' Johnson said Tuesday. ``I couldn't do as much as I wanted until I knew the offense, especially the pass protections. Now I feel like I'm ready to help the team win.''
The Lions are idle this weekend, returning to action Oct. 5 when they host the Chicago Bears.
Once Johnson got going Smith didn't touch the ball again, but that doesn't mean the eight-year veteran thinks he has won the No. 1 spot. Johnson signed with the Lions after being released by the Bengals at the end of training camp.
'm just going to keep practicing hard and trying to do the best I can.''
Johnson was especially pleased with his receiving touchdown - just the second one of his 84-game career.
``I've always been able to catch the ball - it was something I worked hard on in Cincinnati, but the Bengals never asked me to do it,'' he said. ``It would be great if that became more of my role here. I'd like to show that I can stay on the field on third down, which I almost never did with the Bengals.''
Johnson's performance, though, couldn't disguise the fact that Detroit's season has been a disaster so far. The Lions have trailed 21-0, 21-0 and 21-3 in their first three games, meaning that their plan to use a balanced offense had to be abandoned quickly for a passing attack.
One of Detroit's key offensive threats, wide receiver Roy Williams, thinks Detroit should be using a pass-oriented offense from the start.
``If I had my way, we'd play four wides early, instead of just using it when we are behind and trying to cut into someone's lead,'' Williams said.
Williams said that he hasn't spoken directly to offensive coordinator Jim Colletto about the issue, but that he's sure the coaching staff knows his position.
``I've been saying this over and over,'' he said. ``They've heard me say it to the media, and I've said it here. But that's not our philosophy right now.''
ny of the same things immediately after the loss to San Francisco, but backed off on Tuesday.
``Is the way the offense is going frustrating? Yes, but when you are 0-3, everything is frustrating,'' he said. ``This isn't much fun.''
Notes: With the Lions on their bye week, the players were excused after Tuesday morning's team photo. They will return to practice on Monday to prepare for the game against the Bears. ... Backup quarterback Drew Stanton said that his injured thumb has healed enough that he could have played in an emergency against the 49ers and that he expects to be 100 percent for the Bears. ... Williams plans to spend the bye week in Texas, avoiding football. He said he passed on a chance to see his alma mater, Texas, play Arkansas, and that his high school in Odessa also has a bye this weekend. ``I'm going to play golf and play with my little girl.''