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Thursday open thread: What will Ty Johnson’s role be in 2019?

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Can the Lions’ speedster back make an impact this season?

NFL: AUG 05 Lions-Patriots Joint Training Camp Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions, for a long time, were known as a pass-heavy offense without any star running backs.

However, with rising star Kerryon Johnson in the backfield alongside veteran C.J. Anderson, there is plenty of optimism for a rejuvenated rushing attack. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has a history of run-heavy offenses from his time with the Seattle Seahawks, so there figure to be plenty of touches for the ‘sons.

There is one other ‘son that could play a significant role for the Lions in 2019, and that’s Ty Johnson. The rookie out of Maryland brings a unique element to the Lions’ offense: speed. Johnson is likely one of the fastest players on the team, and he has showcased this burst against the Patriots. Though he only received three carries, he turned them into 22 yards. Meanwhile throughout practice, Johnson has impressed.

The question now is where he fits into the offense. The Lions no longer have pass-catching running back Theo Riddick, and there are some that believe Johnson can fill that role. However, he would have to be groomed into that role. Johnson only caught 29 passes at Maryland compared to 348 carries. Riddick, meanwhile, had 120 catches coming out of Notre Dame.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

What will Ty Johnson’s role be in 2019?

My answer: I’m tempering my expectations, and I think Ty Johnson will be minimally involved this season. This isn’t a critique of Johnson—I think he has a bright future. However, this is a testament to the rushing offense the Lions’ have built this offseason. As mentioned earlier, I believe that Kerryon Johnson is a budding star in the league. C.J. Anderson is a veteran presence in the backfield to keep Kerryon fresh. Even Zach Zenner has a chance to make this roster due to his well-rounded skill set.

Ty Johnson might be inactive for the first few games of the season, but there’s no reason to rush him into a large role. After all, he’s just a sixth-round pick. Should either Kerryon or Anderson get injured, he is a likely candidate to see an uptick in snaps. In the meantime, he’ll wait in the wings.

Your turn.