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Wednesday open thread: Should the Lions give Tion Green a shot?

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Is it time to take the training wheels off of the undrafted rookie?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions may have won on Monday, but the running game was a problem yet again. The Lions managed just 64 rushing yards on 33 carries, averaging a pathetic 1.9 yards per carry for the game.

For the season, the Lions are averaging just 79.9 rushing yards per game (29th) and 3.2 yards per carry (t-30th). All offseason we were fed the line that Detroit had invested heavily in the running game. The Lions spent money on the offensive line and tight end in free agency, plus the return of Ameer Abdullah would inject life into this running game.

Yet eight games into the season, the running game is actually statistically worse than it was last year, when they averaged 81.9 yards per game and 3.7 YPC. Or to put more succinctly (in less than 280 characters):

There are a lot of theories as to why Detroit is struggling so much, whether it’s predictable playcalling, regression from guys like Graham Glasgow and Travis Swanson, injuries to Taylor Decker or just poor running back play.

But one of the most intriguing solutions is giving undrafted rookie Tion Green a shot. Green made the final 53-man roster after an impressive preseason finale, but has yet to be active for a single game this year.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Is it time to give Tion Green a shot?

My answer: No. I won’t go into great details, as we talk about it extensively on this week’s PODcast, but this reeks of an ill-conceived solution to a complicated problem. Much like how fans beg for an unproven, late-round quarterback when the starter struggles, it’s almost never as simple as that.

Tion Green is a great story and a talented individual, but the truth is he’s not going to be the savior to this running game. No one is calling for Green to take Ameer Abdullah’s place, but rather assume the role of the power back that Detroit is currently lacking.

While I understand that Detroit’s short-yardage game is currently struggling and one may think there’s no harm in at least giving Green a shot, I honestly feel like this problem is being slightly blown out of proportion. Prior to these past two games, this wasn’t considered a big issue for the Lions’ offense. Perhaps not coincidentally, before the Steelers game, the Lions were using a different back as their short-yardage weapon. Zach Zenner hasn’t been great—or even good—this year, but he has five career rushing touchdowns. He’s capable.

But when the Lions have already tried Abdullah, Washington, Zenner and Theo Riddick in the red zone and other short-yardage situations and none of them have seen much success, that doesn’t tell me that those backs are flawed. It tells me there’s deeper issues along the offensive line, and an undrafted rookie running back who showed absolutely nothing in three of four preseason games isn’t going to add much of anything.

Of course, the unknown is always more tempting than the known, so I understand the intrigue. I just don’t agree with it.

Your turn.


Is it time the Detroit Lions give Tion Green a shot?

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  • 70%
    (1131 votes)
  • 29%
    (471 votes)
1602 votes total Vote Now