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Eagles not discussing plans for Lions WR Johnson

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Eagles not discussing plans for Lions WR Johnson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Calvin Johnson's nickname is enough to scare opponents, even if he's not finding the end zone with regularity.

The All-Pro wide receiver will try to catch his first touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford this season when the Detroit Lions (1-3) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) on Sunday.

``When they give you the nickname `Megatron,' that means you're pretty good,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said of Johnson. ``He's a really good player.''

Johnson has a tough challenge going against a secondary that features a pair of accomplished cornerbacks: two-time All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a 2009 Pro Bowl pick. Rookie Brandon Boykin may even line up against Johnson at times.

``These guys have corners that can play,'' Stafford said. ``You look at them on tape, they're shutting guys down.''

Whatever the Eagles plan to do to cover Johnson, they're not letting on.

``I don't want to give away what we're going to do,'' defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said. ``Hopefully we can talk about it after the game, and you can say, `Juan, that was a good game plan that you all had.'''

The Lions use Johnson in various formations, lining him up inside, outside and wherever they think they can draw a mismatch. He has 29 catches for 423 yards, but his only TD catch was thrown by Shaun Hill.

When Johnson is in the slot, Asomugha probably will move over to cover him instead of Boykin, who usually plays there. Rodgers-Cromartie had a tough time adjusting to playing nickel cornerback last year, making Asomugha more likely to get the assignment. Rodgers-Cromartie has outplayed Asomugha in man-to-man coverage, so he should be on Johnson when he's outside.

Like other teams, the Eagles may also use a safety to double-cover Johnson.

``Normally people are looking to cover him with a couple of people,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``He has earned that respect and that's what teams have done. That doesn't mean that is what you have to do, but that is what teams have tried to do against him. That has been going on not just this year but the last few. They still try to find ways to get him open and get him the football.''

Rodgers-Cromartie indicated the Eagles will put two guys on Johnson.

``You just have to keep a couple of people on him,'' he said. ``You have to keep him out of the game and don't even allow him to get started. Frustrate him early.''

The Lions have an idea of what the Eagles might try to do. Even though Johnson has only scored once, Detroit is moving the ball. The Lions are third in the NFL in yards and second in first downs.

``They've got great corners. I think they're a matchup kind of a defense,'' offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. ``They're not just going to go out and play straight man-on-man. They're going to have guys accounting for the receivers in close coverage. I would expect more of that than any of the games we've had so far.''

Stafford connected with Johnson for two TDs in each of the first four games last year and nine times in five games to lift the Lions to a 5-0 start en route to their first playoff appearance since 1999. Johnson finished with 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 TDs.

But with Stafford off to a slow start - he has fewer TD passes (three) than interceptions (four) - and Johnson not making big plays, it's no wonder the Lions are struggling. Johnson, though, is due for a breakout performance.

``He can run, he can jump, and he has great hands,'' Castillo said. ``He does a great job running routes and catching the football in traffic and over the middle. The quarterback trusts him.

``Stafford will throw to him even if he is double covered.''

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NOTES: The Eagles have no injuries and everyone should be ready to play vs. the Lions. ... Eagles QB Michael Vick carried a football around with him all week, even taking it to breakfast. Teammates tried to strip it away whenever they saw him holding it around the practice facility. Vick has fumbled eight times, losing five of those. ``There was a bounty on the ball,'' he joked.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

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USA Today Sports

Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

The Washington Wizards selected international prospect Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Like Wizards first round pick Troy Brown, Sanon is just 18 years old and does not turn 19 until Oct. 30. President of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Sanon is a draft-and-stash prospect and will play at least the following year for Olimpija, a professional team in Slovenia.

Here’s what you need to know about Sanon:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 172

2017-18 stats: 20.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 42.9 FG%, 28.3 3PT%, 50 FT%

*Sanon is a defensive-minded combo guard that is not expected to be ready for the next few years. However, he thrived defensively, allowing just 0.471 points per isolation possession, according to the NBA. That ranks in the 92nd percentile. In the past two seasons in Ukraine’s second division, Sanon averaged 4.6 steals per game.

*While playing in the 2017 U-18 Euros for the Ukrainian National team last summer, Sanon broke out, averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game. 

*During the middle of the 2017-18 season, Sanon changed teams. He moved from Ukraine’s Dnipro to the more competitive Olimpija in Slovenia.

*The biggest area of improvement for Sanon is developing his offensive game further. While he is just 18 and very raw, Sanon’s numbers have dipped since his move to Olimpija, especially shooting wise. Sanon’s strength comes in transition and his 6-4 frame helps him when slashing to the rim.

*Though he will not play for the Wizards anytime soon, he will come to the United States and play on the Wizards’ Summer League team.