Wins and losses do not really matter anymore for the Detroit Lions, which is a bummer, but also the truth. Instead, the last six weeks of the season are about planning for the future, which means giving younger players a chance to prove their worth. No player (or coach) is going to just phone it in, but everyone can recognize that there is some leeway in experimentation at this point.
One interesting position to watch down the stretch is at running back. After the Lions traded up for Kerryon Johnson last season, it seemed like the team was going to be set for the next bit. Unfortunately, the former second-rounder is again injured, leaving no clear options behind him on the depth chart.
Even before his injury, Detroit was sprinkling in a few other rushers; both C.J. Anderson and Ty Johnson saw some work during the first month of the season. Since Kerryon hit injured reserve, however, there has been a whole host of names at the position. Paul Perkins, Tra Carson, J.D. McKissic, and Bo Scarbrough have all been given their shot to carry the ball.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How should the Lions split the running back carries?
My answer: Scarbrough looked good last week and it seems wise to run him back out there this Sunday. The sophomore found the end zone in his first career game, and he seems like he could be the type of player that would fit well behind Kerryon Johnson next season. To really know what they have, the Lions need to give him an adequate workload. With six games left, there is no excuse not to use him.
There is also a need for a pass-catching back, and that role could be filled by either McKissic or Ty Johnson. Both seem to have the appropriate skill set, so it might just be up to the preference of the coaching staff to figure out who gets the bulk of the targets. Given offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s history with McKissic, he seems like a logical choice for the third-down role.