It was the perfect game to feast (Monday Night vs. Green Bay). A porous run defense. A divisional matchup. Prime time television. Everything seemed to line up for Kerryon Johnson to have a big game. We even predicted he would have a bit of a coming out party with the national eyes of the NFL on this one game. The results were poor (34 yards on the ground, 2.6 YPC)
As we know, the effectiveness of a running back has many variables. Run blocking, scheme and defensive attention, just to name a few. Kerryon’s slow start may have been caused by several of these factors, but most would say his situation for running is comparable to last year. Some would say it’s even better. The early results, however, are much different. In 2018, Kerryon Johnson had a robust 5.4 yards per carry on 118 attempts. It gave many fans hope that Detroit finally has a reliable RB that can positively impact games.
So far in 2019, Kerryon has been up and down, at best. He has a 285 yards on the ground with only 3.3 yards average per run. The new offensive scheme under Darrell Bevell seems to provide a marked improvement through the air, but they have regressed running the ball. Ironically, many thought the run game would make big strides with Bevell, a second-year Kerryon Johnson, and continued growth of a relatively young offensive line. That hasn’t been the case. This leads us to our question of the day. Is it time to start worrying about Kerryon Johnson?
My answer: Yes (with a caveat)
I’ll get right to the caveat. With the season still in its semi-early stages, Kerryon’s proven track record at Auburn and his promising rookie season.... if he has a bounce back game against Minnesota, I will no doubt be relieved and think he has turned the corner of a slower start. But if he has another lackluster game I’ll be fully in the worried camp.
The biggest concern most had for him was potential injuries concerns. He saw his fair share in college and had a shortened rookie season with the Lions. Thus far, he’s been healthy. He’s only been taken out the game to evaluated a few times and is not a regular on the injury report. Let’s hope the health trend continues but the subpar games don’t.
But let’s not give him all the blame. It’s imperative that the Lions find creative ways to get him and the ground game overall. He could use a few more outside looks. Letting Ty Johnson cut loose and showcase his speed could help throw defenses off. Detroit also can utilize their tight ends on first down to get a few shorter yardage looks in order to avoid second-and-long. But as for Kerryon, I’m not full blown worried but it’s getting close.
Your turn: Are you starting to worry about Kerryon Johnson?