Since head coach Matt Patricia came to town, the Detroit Lions have made a concerted effort to make the running game a priority both on offense and defense. The addition of Damon Harrison Sr. made the Lions a formidable run defense last year, and Kerryon Johnson made them look dangerous, at times, running the ball.
But not everyone is convinced of their talent on offense yet. Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski ranked every team’s backfield for the 2019 season, and the Lions came in at just 22nd in the league.
Sobleski doesn’t offer much in terms of criticism talking about Detroit’s backfield. In fact, he’s quite complimentary. He notes that Johnson averaged 5.7 yards per touch and provided Detroit with “a real running threat.” He calls C.J. Anderson “a vital component to the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl run.” He even praised Theo Riddick, labeling him as “a top-notch third-down back.”
Still, his ranking suggests there’s some skepticism with Detroit. Perhaps it’s Johnson’s youth, inexperience and injury history. Perhaps it’s their questionable depth. Either way, the Lions will likely have to produce more actual results before they climb lists like these.
- When the Detroit Lions schedule came out, many noted how tough the first month is. Detroit opens up with three 2018 playoff teams out of their first four games. According to a study from Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart, the Lions actually have the 10th most front-loaded schedule in the league.
- Zach Zenner wasn’t at OTAs earlier in the week, and now we have a pretty good understanding of why that may have been. Congrats, Zenners!
New Zenner in the world, welcome Boden! Mom did great. pic.twitter.com/2m7pjkzQam— Zach Zenner (@zenner31) May 23, 2019
- Darius Slay has a response to those who think he should just commit to the contract he signed a few years ago:
They don’t keep their words when they cut us while we in our contracts ... https://t.co/EqsDXgAJ93— Darius Slay (@_bigplayslay23) May 22, 2019
- The NFL has outlawed the Oklahoma Drill in practices. Nate Atkins of MLive talks about what that may mean for Matt Patricia, who ran a very similar drill last year.
- Thursday marks the 10,000th day since the Lions’ last playoff victory. Here’s a hard-to-read graphic putting that into perspective relative to the other professional sports teams. The infographic is measuring playoff wins (playoff series wins in the MLB, NBA and NHL), and Lions are that speech bubble on the left.
- Thursday was apparently mailbag day for much of the Lions beat. Here’s Kyle Meinke’s, Justin Rogers’, and Chris Burke (subscription required). Most notable from the three, this line from Rogers:
“I don’t think any fan expecting 10 wins this year is being unreasonable.”
- Danny Amendola threw a strike(?) when throwing out the first pitch at a Tigers game on Tuesday: