On Wednesday, we polled Detroit Lions fans, asking them two questions for our latest SB Nation Reacts survey:
- 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, here are the results we have seen over the first eight weeks of the season, including this week:
- 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%
- Week 8 win over the Raiders: 98%
With the Lions taking care of business against the Raiders, fans’ confidence in the direction of the team has once again bumped up to the top of the league.
Meanwhile, around the division, the Vikings beat the Packers by two touchdowns but lost quarterback Kirk Cousins to an Achilles injury, and as a result, saw their fans' confidence level drop to 70%. The Packers fans aren’t dealing with the loss well and they’ve slid down to just 17%. The Bears dropped to 37% after getting hammered by the Chargers on Sunday night.
The second question this week—who should be the Lions “starting” RB moving forward?—generated the majority of discussion from fans in the comments section. As a point of reference, here’s an explanation clarifying a “starter” role.
“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?”
Here are a few of the explanations from voters (lightly edited for clarity and ease of reading) in the comment section of the original article:
- HumanVictoryCigar: “Knowing how conservative Dan and Ben are, they will open with Montgomery when he is healthy and then bring in Gibbs after that.”
- Redux0: “60/40 Gibbs, with Monty getting goal line stuff.”
- A Fella: “I put Jahmyr Gibbs because of recency bias, but honestly we shouldn’t have a “starter” I feel like they should split carries evenly to keep the defense on their toes. Heck, maybe some 2 back sets to really throw them off. I feel like that hasn’t happened lately because the coaches didn’t trust Gibbs, but now I want to see things more down the middle.”
- Dr. Fort Liverworth: “ The answer I think is easily Montgomery, since we want to control the line of scrimmage and run between the tackles and since Montgomery is the more proven back between the tackles. Also, it seems that it would be more effective to sprinkle in some Gibbs to supplement Montgomery than to sprinkle in some thunder to supplement the lightning. Snap count may end up being similar. But Montgomery will be at the center of the game plan most Sundays, assuming he is healthy.”
- luniz: “It’ll probably be matchup based. Montgomery is still better off when he can get some volume and he seems a bit better as a blocker. Gibbs could start if they want to use him as a receiver early.”
- Defend the Den: “That’s easy! It’s obviously Dahmyr Gibgomery!”
While the majority of the commenters said they expect Montgomery to maintain his starting role or the pair should split carries, the results from the votes were dramatically different.
Honestly, the results shouldn’t be overly surprising because it’s easy to get swept up in Gibbs’ impressive performances during Montgomery’s absences, but it would represent a clear divergence in offensive strategy from the coaching staff.
We’ll find out the answer soon enough.