Matt Hamm: Us 49er fans know a little something about great Wide Receivers, Calvin Johnson physically reminds me of a cross between TO and Randy Moss. The only thing in my opinion that could stop him from challenging the great Jerry Rice will be 2 things. His ability to stay healthy and have a long, productive career. The other is his work ethic, what is Johnson’s reputation as a leader, locker room guy and do you think he had the drive to put together a HOF career?
Zac Snyder: Calvin Johnson isn’t the typical wide receiver with the diva attitude. He doesn’t have the demonstrative personality and will never be a distraction in the locker room. That being said, he isn’t talked about as one of the team leaders – not that he necessarily has to be. Adding Nate Burleson to the locker room has helped CJ come out of his shell to some extent. I believe that personalities of all kinds can put together a Hall of Fame career and Calvin’s stats in his career so far, particularly the start he’s off to this year, speaks louder than anything else.
Matt Hamm: Talk about the Lions Secondary, in the offseason there was alot of Nnamdi Asomgha talk, how has the DB performed thus far? What do you expect the remainder of the 2011 season from this group?
Zac Snyder: They have been OK. There isn’t a Pro Bowler among the group but they are effective enough for what the Lions do on defense. Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham are more concerned about particular skill-sets rather than big names since games aren’t won in the headlines. The Lions defense works because their front four pressures the quarterback without additional blitzers and forces the quarterback to get rid of the ball. As a result, the secondary is able to perform at a higher level than someone looking at them on paper might expect.
Matt Hamm: Aside from the obvious answers of Johnson and Suh who should 49er fans fear the most?
Zac Snyder: You’re right to name Ndamukong Suh but the truly scary thing is that he is just one, albeit and important one, of a strong defensive line rotation. The Lions had nine defensive lineman active last Monday night and while they are more likely to settle on an eight man rotation going forward, the coaching staff has full confidence in each player. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young all play at defensive end while Suh, Corey Williams, Sammie Hill, Nick Fairley and Andre Fluellen all see time at defensive tackle. Any could be in the 49ers backfield on any given play.
Matt Hamm: What if anything scares you about the 49ers?
Zac Snyder: I’ve heard a lot of comments this week about this game being a trap game for the Lions since they have a short week of preparation and are coming off an emotional win over the Bears. I think that is a fair take but I’d be more worried about the trap with the “old” Lions. These Lions have shown themselves to be different so I don’t worry about them coming out flat as much as other seem to. That being said, the Lions will lose at some point and I think the 49ers are legit.
Matt Hamm: Who wins the Showdown in Motown and why?
Zac Snyder: Having just admitted that the Lions could lose to the 49ers I will say that I don’t expect them to. The Lions are building a real connection with their home crowd and I expect them to feed off another loud group of fans. The Lions ability to win a game with their offense or defense makes for a tough matchup with a lot of the league. Lions win on Sunday, 27-17.
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