The Detroit Lions have talked a lot this offseason about improving the running game, and for good reason. Detroit finished amongst the NFL’s worst in rushing stats last season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and less than 82 rushing yards per game.
While Detroit didn’t make running back a high priority in the draft or free agency this offseason, they did make moves to help pave the way for their backs. The completely overhauled the right side of the offensive line, while adding a tight end who can actually block.
Then there’s the much anticipated return of 2015 second-round pick Ameer Abdullah. The Lions made sure that Abdullah was fully healthy before putting him out there on the practice field, and it now appears he’s ready to take on 2017 with a full head of steam.
But Abdullah must break through years and years of built-up futility in the Lions running game. Detroit has gone 52-straight games without a 100-yard rusher, dating all the way back to the Reggie Bush era in 2013.
While 100 yards is a bit of an arbitrary benchmark, especially for a team that runs the ball as infrequently as the Lions, it does represent a good goal for a team to hit once in awhile. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you think the Lions will have a 100-yard rusher during the 2017 season?
My answer: Yes. I am very high on Ameer Abdullah, and while I think he’ll probably average somewhere around 70-80 rushing yards per game, I think he’ll hit the century mark at least three times in 2017.
Abdullah has the shiftiness and short-length speed to break into the second level on just about any play. He’s never going to be the workhorse back that is carrying the ball 25+ times a game, but his big-play ability should get him to 100 yards a few times this year, even if he’s only carrying the ball 15-20 times a game.
How many times will the Lions have a 100-yard rusher in 2017?
This poll is closed