Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Detroit Lions fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
In this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey, we are asking fans two questions:
- Are you confident the Lions are headed in the right direction? (weekly poll)
- Who should be the Lions starting RB moving forward?
With regards to the first survey question, this is a question that we will ask weekly and track the results throughout the season. Here are the results we have seen so far:
- Following Week 1 win over Chiefs: 99%
- Week 2 loss to Seahawks: 86%
- Week 3 win over Falcons: 97%
- Week 4 win over Packers: 99%
- Week 5 win over the Panthers: 99%
- Week 6 win over the Buccaneers: 99%
- Week 7 loss to the Ravens: 95%
Confidence dipped a bit after the loss to the Ravens, but after getting back on track against the Las Vegas Raiders—which led to them cleaning house—it’ll be interesting to see if the confidence numbers will increase again.
With the Lions being on a bye, our second survey question goes in a bit of a different direction than normal, as we contemplate a good problem Detroit has in their backfield: Who should be the Lions starting running back moving forward?
The Lions have been very upfront with their approach to the running game this season. They want to smash you in the mouth early and take advantage of opportunities when their opponent gets tired.
That has led to David Montgomery starting five of the first six games of the season (he missed Week 3 due to injury), amassing 385 rushing yards on 94 carries and six touchdowns, to go along with six receptions for 66 receiving yards. Unfortunately, Montgomery was injured in Week 6 and has been unable to play since—although that is expected to change when the Lions return to the field in Week 10.
With Montgomery absent the last two games, first-round rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs has taken over starting duties. While he has also missed two games this season, he has still managed 399 rushing yards on 76 carries, and two touchdowns, along with 28 receptions for 165 receiving yards. The majority of that production came last week against the Raiders when Gibbs totaled 189 all-purpose yards and a score.
“We felt like there was some things that we could do (against the Raiders) and we wanted to get Gibbs going,” coach Dan Campbell said following last week’s game. “We wanted to be able to establish the run, and you could tell he was feeling it. Every week he’s just gotten a little bit better and a little bit better and I thought last week was his best game, and this week certainly surpassed that. And I think the more he gains his own confidence in his own abilities in this league, he’s just going to continue to grow, and I think this was kind of the tip of the iceberg if you will for what he is able to do and going to be able to do. So really proud of him.”
Now, it’s clear the Lions would prefer to platoon both backs and reap the benefits of both players operating at their peak, but will the Lions favor one over the other? Montgomery will most likely continue to get technical “starts” because the Lions give that respect to their veterans. But this question wants to know, which back you believe will get “starter-level” snaps and opportunities?
Will it be a stick-to-the-season game plan approach when Montgomery is healthy? Or, has the light bulb clicked on for Gibbs and you expect the coaching staff to ride the most dynamic option?
Be sure to share your prediction for Who should be the Lions starting RB moving forward? in the comments, and vote in the SB Nation Reacts surveys below. Results from the Reacts surveys will be posted later this week and make sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.