September 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Lions' Jim Caldwell won't use Giants player's shot at Calvin Johnson as motivation

'We don't put up bulletin board material,' Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Thursday. 'If our guys need that as incentive to play, we're in the wrong business.' (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

Allen Park — Week 1 hasn’t even arrived yet, but one player on the Lions’ opponent this week has already taken a shot at Calvin Johnson.

Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond said this week the back-to-back-to-back All-Pro receiver “has weaknesses,” according to The Star-Ledger.

“Everyone knows he's a talented guy, you know, but being a big receiver, he has some weaknesses for sure,” Thurmond said.

New Lions coach Jim Caldwell, though, said he won’t be posting Thurmond’s comments on any bulletin board at the team’s practice facility.

“We don’t put up bulletin board material,” he said Thursday. “If our guys need that as incentive to play, we’re in the wrong business.”

This is hardly the first time an opposing cornerback has tried to get into Johnson’s head. Seattle’s Richard Sherman and Green Bay’s Tramon Williams have both called themselves “Optimus Prime” in advance of covering “Megatron,” a play on Johnson’s nickname.

The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnson has cemented his status as the world’s best receiver with three straight 1,400-yard seasons, including the NFL’s single-season yardage mark of 1,964 yards in 2012.

Thurmond credited Johnson’s ability to snag jump balls and run after the catch, but, of all things, the 5-foot-11 cornerback said Johnson’s size will give the Giants chances to contain him.

"It takes him longer to get out of stuff where the ball is coming in and we can get out and beat him to the route, we've won that play," Thurmond said. "Whether it be a knockdown or interception, that is one of the benefits of being someone smaller than he is. There's always benefits to being able to get out of a break quicker than your man."

The Giants will find out if Johnson has any weaknesses Monday night, but Caldwell said he’s been urging players to avoid news related to the Lions and their opponents.

“One of the things that we talk to our guys about consistently is that we don’t need any external motivation,” Caldwell said. “We really don’t, and we’d prefer that they not read the clippings or listen to the news when it has to deal with our team or one of our opponents. Whether they do that or not, I’m not certain.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com
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