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Tuesday open thread: Should Lions fans be bothered with the team’s RB usage?

Two second-round running backs, 5 total touches on Sunday.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, Adrian Peterson carried the ball 22 times, which was the highest from any Detroit Lions running back in a single game in nearly an entire year. Peterson, of course, was added to the roster just before the season began. It was a bit of fortuitous luck for the Lions, as Peterson was a bit of a surprise cut from the Washington Football Team.

But it’s also a surprise to see Peterson not only leading the team in carries, but dominating the team in touches. The Lions drafted two running backs this offseason in D’Andre Swift and Jason Huntley, and they also still have 2018 second-round pick Kerryon Johnson. Huntley ended up not making the team, while Swift and Johnson have combined for just 26 carries through three games compared to 43 by Peterson.

For some, this has caused a minor annoyance. If the Lions are going to spend all this draft capital and resources on running backs, how can you throw away their development immediately by bringing in a 35-year-old back and having him take all of the playing time? It looks especially bad when your second-round pick this year, and a player the Lions have been super excited about, only plays six snaps against the Cardinals.

The counterargument here is that Peterson has been doing just fine. He’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry, has been good as a short-yardage back, and it’s giving a guy like Swift some time to develop since he had a shortened offseason. If the running game is working in Detroit, does it even really matter who is carrying the rock? Let Peterson dominate the running game now, and, eventually, Swift will see his touches. It’s far too early to judge Detroit’s rookie class after three games.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Are you bothered by Detroit’s usage of their running backs thus far?

My answer: Not really. While it’s mildly annoying to see rookie running backs across the league—like the ChiefsClyde Edwards-Helaire (66 touches, 342 yards) or JaguarsJames Robinson (53 touches, 339 yards)—get plenty of touches and show immediate promise, I’m not going to get impatient about Swift quite yet.

The Lions have a pretty good thing going with Peterson acting as the workhorse back, Johnson playing pass protector with occasional carries, and Swift with most of his work coming as a receiver out of the backfield. It’s not what many thought they were going to get out of Swift, but remember that he dealt with an injury for much of training camp. It won’t stay like this forever.

As the season goes on, we’ll see Swift’s role increase, and hopefully we’ll see some of his electrifying skills along with it. For now, though, everything seems to be working okay with the running game, so there’s no real reason to be mad.

Your turn.


Are you bothered by the Lions’ usage of RBs through 3 games?

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  • 37%
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900 votes total Vote Now

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