So, Dallas staff, who's the best receiver in the NFL these days?
"Calvin Johnson is arguably the best player in the National Football League. He’s bigger than everybody else. He jumps up and catches the ball over his head. He runs with it after the catch. He does all the big things and little things well. It will be a tremendous challenge." -- Head Coach Jason Garrett
Thanks, Coach. Does your defensive coordinator feel the same way?
"We work against better receivers with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. They are probably two of the premier receivers in football, but this guy is right there. He’s almost that good. He’s excellent."
"We’re going to get after him. I know he’s on some touchdown thing like that, whatever. Scott Linehan has done this before with great receivers with Randy Moss. If the guy is as good as Randy Moss, I’m going to go in there and hide. Thank God he’s not, but he’s a pretty damn good player."-- Coordinator Rob Ryan
Well, alrighty then! Unfortunately, the guys Ryan thinks are better are pretty banged up. Miles Austin isn't playing, and Dez is expected to be limited.
The Cowboys have yet to face an offense as potent as the Detroit Lions. In reality though, the Lions haven't faced a defense as exciting and exotic as Dallas'. Rob Ryan, who has seemingly fixed the pass rush and coverage problems that Dallas experienced during Collapse 2010, is not the type to shy away from public bravado. Fans of other teams scoffed when he said Dallas had 'three bullies' on their defensive line, but no one is laughing now as the team ranks third in Defensive rush DVOA, and ninth in passing D-DVOA.
Sunday's game will be a true litmus test for both of these teams with early season hopes of playoff dates.