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Friday open thread: Who should be the Lions’ 3rd down back if Theo Riddick is out?

The Lions may have a tough choice ahead if Theo Riddick doesn’t heal up by Sunday.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 1: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions signals to running back Ameer Abdullah #21 in the second half of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on October 1, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

While most of the Detroit Lions are healthier out of the bye week, running back Theo Riddick has been a surprise scratch from practice on Wednesday and Thursday. The Lions’ leading snap-getter at running back is dealing with a knee injury that looks to threaten his availability for the Dolphins game.

This year, Riddick hasn’t seen as much offensive production as we’re used to seeing out of him. He has just five catches so far and 30 rushing yards. That sort of production will be easy to replace.

However, Riddick is more than his stats suggest. He is also an outstanding pass protector, which has made him extremely valuable on third downs this year. The Lions don’t have another great pass protector in their backfield, which could lead to a bit of a conundrum on Sunday.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Who should be the Lions’ third-down back if Theo Riddick can’t play?

My answer: To clarify, let’s throw out situational third downs, like short-yardage situations, because we’ve seen LeGarrette Blount succeed in those scenarios.

If we’re talking about a regular old third-and-5 or third-and-10, I think you roll the dice with Kerryon Johnson in there. Johnson likely has the worst pass protection skills of the group, but he’s just a huge threat out of the backfield. He leads all Lions backs with 13 catches thus far, and you get the feeling he could have an even bigger impact in the passing offense if given the reps.

That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ameer Abdullah in there a little bit, but that’s more out of curiosity than anything else, because his pass protection certainly needs work, too.

Your turn.


Who should be the Lions’ third-down back?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    LeGarrette Blount
    (48 votes)
  • 75%
    Kerryon Johnson
    (632 votes)
  • 19%
    Ameer Abdullah
    (162 votes)
842 votes total Vote Now

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