I suspect this will become the norm at ESPN, if it hasn't already. The network has tried so hard to hire a large stable of former players and coaches to analyze the NFL that those hired can't possibly have their own voice or their own personality. There's no room to breathe with such a population of analysts ... no opportunity for one of them to step out and become a reliable voice of reason or source of interesting takes.
They're all the same, just like ESPN probably wants.
For Carter, Friday presented an opportunity to step out and say something interesting. It was a chance for him to take a stand and stake his claim to a larger audience.
He tried. And failed.
On ESPN Radio, he was asked about the top five receivers in the NFL. He failed to put Calvin Johnson on that list.
“Calvin Johnson, he’s very, very good at Madden and Tecmo Bowl or whatever they’re playing now,” Carter said. “But on film, when I watch film, and I break down the film, he’s not to the point of these guys yet.”
ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg pointed out that Johnson has played with lousy quarterbacks, but Carter wasn’t buying it.
“I made eight Pro Bowls,” Carter said. “I made it with five different quarterbacks. They weren’t always great. So I don’t want to hear the excuse that I’m not playing with a great quarterback.”
Face, meet palm.
I'll set aside the fact that he took a veiled shot at the quarterbacks he played with in the NFL.
Instead, let's focus on the lunacy that is his comment on Calvin Johnson. If he's only good on video games, why did the Jets and Packers -- among others -- routinely double him last year, even though both teams had elite players in their secondaries?
Sorry, Cris, but they weren't doubling him just because they could. They also weren't trying to confuse whoever Detroit had at quarterback. They did it because Calvin Johnson -- as he has shown time and time again -- is good enough to beat you, even when you do double-team him.
Monday, Carter saw the error of his ways. Sort of.
On Monday’s edition of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, the show on which Carter uttered his controversial comments, the two Mikes talked about the reaction to Carter’s opinion, with pretty much everyone who has weighed in taking the position that Carter was flat wrong. They capped the discussion by pointing out that Carter had called the studio with this message regarding Johnson: “[H]e’s right there with the top five. I may have given Reggie Wayne a gift.”
In other words, Carter apparently opted not to admit in real time that he had inadvertently overlooked Johnson, choosing instead to stubbornly support an inherently flawed argument. Three days later, with no way out of the maze, Carter issued a mea culpa which the two Mikes laughed off as they went to a break.
I guess this is the closest thing we'll get to a "correction" out of the Worldwide Leader.