The identity of the Detroit Lions 2019 offense is changing. With new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell part of the gang, the assumption is that Detroit will have a newfound focus on the running game. Will it be the primary focus of the offense? How will it affect Matthew Stafford? Does Bevell have the kind of players he needs to implement the offense? All those questions are still left unanswered.
But to kick off our 2019 Detroit Lions season preview, our staff gathered to make their picks for the Detroit Lions Offensive Player of the Year.
Andrew Kato: Kenny Golladay
WR Kenny Golladay will take command of the receiver corps and be the downfield stretch complement that Bevell’s play action game needs. While most of the focus will be on Stafford and the hot new rookie T.J. Hockenson, Golladay provides that physical mismatch over the top of the defense that Detroit used to have with Calvin. Without that sucker punch to punish a stacked box, Bevell’s balanced offense approach will not work.
John Whiticar: Kerryon Johnson
Kerryon Johnson will be the Lions’ offensive MVP in 2019. However, the key concern is that he needs to stay healthy to do so. An injury-shortened rookie campaign is yet another tally on his list of injuries throughout his football career. When and if he’s healthy, I’d argue that he’s the best Detroit Lion on offense. He showcased some outstanding play-making abilities as both a runner and as a catcher, and with an offense that will likely be more run-based, he figures to contribute greatly in 2019.
He has more support this season in C.J. Anderson, a significant upgrade over LeGarrette Blount. While the Lions would be wise to limit his touches for the sake of health, there’s no question that the Lions are better team with him on the field.
Hamza Baccouche: Matthew Stafford
Stafford—duh. There really isn’t much to be said here; we saw how badly the offense sputtered when Stafford wasn’t playing early in the preseason, in spite of the presence of stars like Kerryon Johnson, T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Jones Jr., and the starting offensive line.
This offense thrives and struggles in tandem with Stafford, and we’ve seen how peak Stafford can carry a bad supporting cast in 2017, but we’ve also seen his struggles sink the ship. With Stafford looking lean, mean, and locked in all offseason/preseason, I’m buying the over on any stat line Vegas has for him.
Kyle Yost: Kerryon Johnson
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell loves to run the ball and the sophomore is ready to take on a bigger role after an impressive debut season. While the team’s success will revolve around quarterback play, Johnson will be the guy who is responsible for keeping everything moving. One big area of improvement I expect over last season is his pass-catching role. Especially with the departure of Theo Riddick, expect Johnson to see a decent number of targets, including some action on third down.
Ryan Mathews: Kerryon Johnson
The Lions offensive MVP is going to be Kerryon Johnson, and I’ll tell you exactly why: this team won’t be a playoff team without him being the catalyst. The Lions entire identity on offense has been built on running the football. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the last two first-round picks made by Bob Quinn—a fantastic run blocker up the middle in Frank Ragnow and one of the best blocking tight end prospects ever in T.J. Hockenson.
All that withstanding, also take into account how much Quinn and the organization valued the running game, effectively zagging the Patriot Way by moving up to select Kerryon Johnson in 2018.
Mike Payton: Matthew Stafford
There’s no doubt that the Lions entire season relies on Matthew Stafford. I’ve said it a million times, and I’m going to say it again now. If Stafford goes down, it’s a nuclear bomb to this entire team. Besides that, I fully expect Stafford to have a bounce-back season with new and healthy weapons and an offensive line that features two tackles who didn’t give up a single pressure in the preseason. That bounce-back season will help propel this team.
Justin Simon: Matthew Stafford
For the Lions to be successful, it’s going to have to be Stafford. The Lions will only go as far as he ends up taking them. Of course, for Stafford to reverse last year’s downward trend, he’ll need help from his supporting cast as well, especially the offensive line. I think Darrell Bevell will help to get the most out of Stafford this season, and he will easily be the Lions’ offensive MVP.
Chris Perfett: Matthew Stafford
Talk about running all you want, but run from this one, dread it, whatever Avengers quote you got. I didn’t watch the movies. I won’t watch the movies. You damn dorks. I have two more seasons of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure to watch instead, and nobody in that show wears spandex except to be homoerotic.
Right. Stafford. Whatever, he’s your MVP. It’s the quarterback and as long as he’s got a working back and one arm he’ll be here at the end of the season.
Kellie Rowe: Kerryon Johnson
Kerryon my wayward Johnson. The star running back turned heads nationwide his first year, while many other rookies are just learning the ropes. Quick stat check: Johnson racked up four touchdowns, 641 rushing yards on 118 carries and 32 receptions for 213 receiving yards. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry—second in the league, and ended the Lions’ 70-game drought without a 100-yard rusher. That’s all in 10 games due to a knee injury.
As long as he can stay healthy, Johnson is poised for a breakout season. Much of his success will also come from receptions. As we’ve noted, Matthew Stafford loves throwing to running backs, and we saw a lot of that connection during training camp. Between a new Darrell Bevell offense with a stronger emphasis on the running game and inheriting Theo Riddick’s targets, it’s going to be a big, big season for Johnson.
Jeremy Reisman: Matthew Stafford
For as much as we’re making about this potentially being a breakout year for Kerryon Johnson, this season has all the makings of a bounce-back year for the Lions’ franchise quarterback. Though questions remain along the offensive line, the revamped tight end room and improvements at running back should give Stafford more than enough weapons to rebound.
I know the narrative is surrounding the running game in 2019, but Matthew Stafford is still the heart of this team and should enjoy a nice inaugural season with Darrell Bevell.
Who will be the Detroit Lions’ offensive MVP in 2019?
This poll is closed