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Thursday open thread: How efficient will the Lions run game be this season?

With a dominant offensive line and a talented backfield, expectations are high in Detroit.

Detroit Lions v New York Jets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It is no secret that the strength of the Detroit Lions is the team’s offense, specifically the run game. Forged from a culture of toughness and determination, the personnel fits Dan Campbell’s mentality, and 2023 should see the Lions continue to lean on their offensive line and ability to run the football.

While on paper it seems like Detroit has a clear advantage in this area, it has not always played out this way. When considering running backs with 30 or more carries in 2022, the Lions as a team ranked just 17th at 4.41 YPC. D’Andre Swift put up a cool 5.47 YPC, but he is not an every-down, between-the-tackles runner. Instead, those touches will go to David Montgomery (3.99 YPC), who was less efficient than the outgoing Jamaal Williams (4.07 YPC).

Today’s Question of the Day is:

How efficient will the Lions run game be this season?

My answer: Perhaps you want to shout “yards per carry is an offensive line stat!” and that is exactly what this question is about. Swift should again be the most efficient runner on a per-play basis, but he will only handle a percentage of the attempts. Rather, it will be up to Montgomery and the offensive line to really grind away this season.

Montgomery will be getting an offensive line upgrade, and while the Bears actually ranked ahead of the Lions last season thanks to Khalil Herbert’s 5.67 YPC, there is no reason that the new Detroit duo cannot push this team into the top 10. That should not be a given, though, based on last season’s numbers, so it feels like expectations must be tempered. 4.4 YPC might sound decent, but it would take crossing 4.7 YPC to really edge into that next tier in the league.

Your turn.

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