The Detroit Lions are in a bit of a tight spot with their running backs heading into their Week 7 contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Starter David Montgomery has already been declared out. Zonovan Knight is on IR. Craig Reynolds is questionable with a hamstring and toe injury—though a report from ESPN suggests he will play. To help provide some reinforcements, the Lions have elevated both Devine Ozigbo and Mohamed Ibrahim—two players who were signed to the practice squad in the past month.
However, there is one person I haven’t mentioned yet: Lions first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs. After missing the last two games, Gibbs is back and according to coach Dan Campbell, he’s ready to take on a significant role this week against the Ravens.
“He’s going to need to take the load of it,” Campbell said. “We’re just going to have to see where he’s at. I’d like to say we’re going to be careful with it, but the reality of it is we need him. So we’ll go as far as he can take us here, trying to be as smart as we can, but he’s gotta go. He’s ready.”
We essentially know Gibbs will carry the bulk of the carries on Sunday, but...
How many touches will Gibbs finish with vs. the Ravens?
My answer: Looking back at the last game Montgomery missed (Week 3 against the Falcons), here was Gibbs’ statline:
17 carries, 80 yards; 1 catch, 2 yards
In that game, the Lions distributed other rushing attempts to Reynolds (four rush) and Knight (three).
On Sunday, I think Gibbs gets at least as many touches, but there’s also a serious question as to how much the Lions will be able to run against the Ravens. Last week, Detroit struggled to run the ball against the Buccaneers, and the Ravens boast an even better run defense.
Detroit will still try to run the ball. In fact, Campbell said they don’t really plan on changing their offensive identity at all, despite the fact that Gibbs is a very different back from Montgomery.
“Ultimately we’re going to keep what we do well, and what our o-line does well, our tight ends,” Campbell said. “Because we believe—we don’t think (Gibbs) is just some, ‘Hey, you just got to get him on the perimeter. He’s not an inside runner.’ We don’t believe that. So, we’re keeping the identity of what we do and the core of what we do in the run game.”
So even if it isn’t efficient, the Lions are going to still feed Gibbs in the run game. What I’m hoping, though, is they find a way to get him more involved in the passing game, too. He has yet to eclipse even 40 receiving yards in a game. This could be the week to do it.
Overall, I expect Gibbs to get between 20-25 touches this week, although with the recent news that Reynolds is expected to play, that number could be more like 15-20.
What do you think Gibbs’ final statline looks like? Scroll down to the comment section and let us know!