Annnnd we’re back. It’s time for Just Say No Volume 2.0. Last week we went a little heavy on the running backs. So this week I, naturally, have more running backs to talk about. But this week we’re going lighter on it... like only half.
Okay, that’s a lie. It’s more than half. Lions fans are going running back crazy this offseason, and, honestly, I’m not sure I can blame them. The Lions have needs to address in free agency and that is by far the sexiest position to address.
Speaking of running backs, I’m not going to add Le’Veon Bell to this list. It’s just not gonna happen. What I will do is give you the link to why I think the Lions can get him right here. The first running back I will add though is this guy.
RB Frank Gore
Let me start here. It would appear that Frank Gore is not human. At 34 years old, Gore ran for 961 yards and three touchdowns for the Colts in 2017. Gore hasn’t ran for less than 900 yards since 2010, and the only reason he came up short that year is because he only played 10 games that season.
Gore, to this point, has been an ageless wonder. He has taken the idea that running backs over the age of 30 decline and smashed it over his knee with great vengeance and furious anger. So why would I say the Lions should stay away?
It’s because Frank Gore is a ticking time bomb. Despite the fact that Gore has consistently played well and has seemingly destroyed the age narrative, he’s still going to be 35 in May, and if he was ever going to finally have that “one year too many” season, you just know it would have to be in Detroit.
Having said that, Gore is the guy that gets my pass this week. If the Lions decide to add Gore as a secondary option to the starter they decided to sign or draft, you bet your bottom dollar that Gore could help the Lions out in that regard.
LB Derrick Johnson
Here’s a guy Lions fans got a little hype about after the Chiefs let him go. I get it. Johnson has been a pretty solid linebacker in his time. Unfortunately, his time started when I was a senior in high school. I’m 32 now. You can probably guess where this is going.
At this point, Derrick Johnson is probably going to just retire, and at 35, you can’t blame him. He had the worst season as a starter of his career in 2017. And at 15 games, it was the closest Johnson has come to playing a full season since 2015. That 2015 season was preceded by 16 missed games.
The Lions do need some help at linebacker now that Paul Worrilow is likely not coming back. Frankly, they needed the help when Paul was here. But Johnson is just too long in the tooth to fill that void.
Remember that guy that had one catch for 46 yards in Super Bowl? That’s Rex Burkhead. And apparently that one catch was enough for Lions fans to believe that they should pack up a U-Haul and head out to Massachusetts to pick this guy up and put him in charge of fixing the Lions run game. And I love those fans for making my job easier.
Here’s the thing about Burkhead: He’s been in the league since 2013. In that time, He’s run for a combined 639 yards and eight touchdowns. Why do you guys do this to yourself? In 2017, Burkhead ran for 264 yards and five touchdowns.
Now let’s try to dig a little deeper. Burkhead did this with the Patriots. Now if you’re not familiar with the Patriots and running backs, look up Jonas Gray. Then look up any other Patriots running backs. They work there, but they never work anywhere else. Burkhead is an aberration.
With that in mind, the Lions may already have plans to make a mistake with another Patriots running back that made an appearance on this list last week.
Don’t be surprised if the Lions take a run at Dion Lewis https://t.co/o52bw1uNHo— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) February 13, 2018
Okay, where should we start with Brian Cushing? Let’s start with games missed and then we’ll work into the hows and whys. Since 2012, Cushing has played in just 60 of a possible 96 games.
There have been injuries. In 2012, he tore is ACL. In 2013, he broke is fibula. In 2016, he tore his MCL.
Then there’s the suspension. In 2017, he got popped for performance enhancing drugs and got suspended for 10 games. Should I stop here? Do I really need to say more?
Okay, fine, I’ll say a little more. In 2009, Cushing had a phenomenal rookie year and even made the Pro Bowl. He’s been coasting off that year for his entire career. Why the Texans have held onto Cushing for so long is truly a mystery. The Lions don’t need these problems. They don’t need the injuries and they don’t need the PED’s.
Boom! Zenner is the first Lion to make the Just Say No list this year. Look, I love Zach Zenner. He’s a great guy, and he’s a hard worker. But it’s just not working out. And while so many think Zenner can do so much, his play and his output have just not shown that.
Yes, he was great against the Cowboys in 2016. That 67 yards and two touchdowns was good time. He looked like a guy that could make some noise. But in three years, he’s only been able to muster just 353 yards and three touchdowns outside of that one night. In 2017, he ran for just 26 yards.
If you play for a team that has the 32nd-ranked rushing attack and you’re the guy on the team with the lowest amount of output, you’re the expendable guy. That’s what happened to Zenner. In a world where the idea at this point is that Theo Riddick is the only designated survivor, Zenner has nothing to make himself the other guy.
But hey, I don’t know if that means it’s over for Zenner. I’m sure he’ll find a spot on another NFC North team because that’s what happens. If not, the man is a rocket scientist. He’s going to be alright.