For seemingly forever, the Detroit Lions have been searching for a good backfield. Plenty of draft capital has been spent trying to find a lead back, and the last three drafts have seen a pair of running backs selected in the second round. With both in the fold and healthy, 2020 could finally be the year the Lions have a formidable running game.
When Bob Quinn traded up to get Kerryon Johnson two years ago, it was clear that the team had high expectations for him as the lead back. While he has had some promising moments, including breaking the 100-yard drought, Johnson has struggled with injuries through his first two years. Accordingly, Detroit decided to spend another second-rounder this past spring, bringing in D’Andre Swift to help out.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
What will the carries distribution look like to start the year?
My answer: Many expect Swift to come in and take the bulk of the workload, but I really do not see it that way. Johnson is still an impressive runner, and if he is healthy he will definitely be involved. Given that he has a couple years on Swift, I think he will start the season in the “starting role,” although the exact order is not that important.
Once the season goes on—assuming both players are healthy—I expect the snaps to be close to 50/50 between the two. Swift could see some additional work in the passing game, but it would make a ton of sense from both a durability and strategic standpoint to rotate them heavily and make use of their different qualities.
There are some intriguing options behind them as well, including Bo Scarbrough, Jason Huntley, and Ty Johnson, but with two legitimate starter-level talents, hopefully the bottom of the depth chart does not need to see too much action. If all goes well this season, the Lions could have a surprisingly dynamic run game for the first time in ages.