Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark was all over ESPN this past week and during one of the Cold Hard Facts segments that aired, he was asked who he thought was the toughest opposing wide receiver to cover in the league and who the toughest opposing quarterback to face.
“Calvin Johnson,” said Clark, about the toughest wide receiver to cover. “Any time a guy goes in the red zone and you decide to go punt formation and put two guys vice-ing him, because you cant stop him – you know he\’s the guy to cover in the NFL. Sometimes Matthew Stafford, he just gets back there, rares back, throws it as far as he can throw it, no matter who\’s covering, no matter how many are covering, Calvin Johnson comes down with the ball. It\’s almost scary.
There is no doubt that Johnson is one of, if not the best, wide receivers in the league currently and it just so happens that the Steelers play the Detroit Lions this upcoming season in Week 11 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
In his six seasons in the league, Johnson has only faced the Steelers once and that happened in Week 5 of the 2009 season. Johnson was held to just one catch for two yards in the Steelers 28-20 win at Detroit, but it should be noted that Johnson left that game early with a leg injury and quarterback Matthew Stafford was also inactive for the game due to a right knee injury.
As far as toughest opposing quarterback to face, Clark went with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as his choice despite his comments made earlier in the week when he said that Brady sometimes “sees ghosts” and often feels pressure that isn’t there when he’s forced to hold onto the ball slightly longer than he’d like.
“Ghosts or no ghosts, I have to go with the greatest living American, and that’s Tom Brady,” Clark said. “You know, I said what I said, and I do believe it, and it’s true. But when this guy has the opportunity to set up and throw the ball to his receivers, there’s nobody better at pinpointing guys out and making plays for his team.
“I mean, he’s a field general, he’s a winner, he’s a competitor, and Tom Brady, he’s given us some hard times.”
In addition to seeing Johnson this year, Clark and the Steelers will also face Brady again in 2013 when the two teams square off in Week 9 at Gillette Stadium. Brady, ghosts and all, is 6-2 in his career against the Steelers, including two victories in AFC Championship games.