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Tuesday open thread: Is the current group of running backs enough for Detroit in 2020?

Detroit wants to run the football. Can they count on their current group of backs to get the job done next season?

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The 20-some-odd-year search for a running game continues for the Detroit Lions.

Even after the Lions moved up in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft to nab Kerryon Johnson, even after the team added Ty Johnson in last year’s draft—who would eventually replace Theo Riddick’s supplementary role—and even after Bo Scarbrough proved to be a solid and steady stand-in once Kerryon was sidelined with an injury for the better part of the season, the search continues.

And this leads us to today’s question of the day...

Is the current group of running backs enough for Detroit in 2020?

Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson and Bo Scarbrough are the only running backs currently under contract for the 2020 season. Those players combined for 265 rushing attempts, 1,053 rushing yards (3.97 YPA), and four touchdowns on the ground. All things considered, it’s not that bad of a group on the surface, but there are underlying issues.

The problem with relying on Kerryon moving forward is obviously rooted in concerns about his durability: he’s only played in 18 of 32 games over his first two seasons. The greatest ability is availability, and for a lead back, that isn’t going to cut it. As for Ty Johnson’s role, he doesn’t seem to be the team’s definition of a bell-cow back, as evidenced by the team’s revolving door at running back all season long. From C.J. Anderson to Paul Perkins to Tra Carson to J.D. McKissic, you’ll only need to know these names if you show up to some Lions trivia and they start taking some deep cuts, asking some questions like, “Which Lions running back was second in rushing touchdowns in 2019?”*

Scarbrough is a dependable back should injuries or other problems arise, but he’s ultimately best served situationally.

So in other words, no, the Lions aren’t set at running back. They can’t be considering how much turnover happened at the position this season, and the team can’t put all their eggs in Kerryon’s basket. Detroit has quite a few needs, specifically on the defensive side of the ball and we’re not sure just how numerable those needs are until the team hires a new defensive coordinator. Running back isn’t as pressing of a need as the front seven, but it certainly does need to be addressed before the team reconvenes for training camp months from now.

Your turn.


Do the Detroit Lions need to add a running back this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Yes, things are too uncertain at the position
    (630 votes)
  • 33%
    No, they have enough between Kerryon, Ty, and Bo
    (323 votes)
953 votes total Vote Now

*Wes Hills—10 carries, 21 yards, two touchdowns

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.