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Notes: Detroit Lions third running back role still a wide-open competition

The competition for RB3 is still wide open, but they must be a big force on special teams.

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Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

As Detroit Lions roster cuts loom, eyes are on the coveted third running back position.

David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs are locks for the two top spots, but there still remains a need for at least a third running back. Speaking to the media Monday, Dan Campbell said for those competing for the spot, it all begins with special teams.

“Every one of them has an opportunity, they know this... Our eyes are open. We’re looking for a third back and it all starts with special teams. If they can help us there, then we can figure out the offensive side of things.”

But it’s a crowded room — with Benny Snell, Devine Ozigbo, Craig Reynolds, Jermar Jefferson and Mohamed Ibrahim all competing for the spot. Justin Jackson, seemingly the frontrunner for the spot after providing solid special teams work last season, announced his retirement from the NFL last week, so the competition is still wide open.

“Nothing is solidified in that third role or fourth for that matter — we’re going to take the best players. Our eyes are open. Brad and I, we’re discussing. You want a job, go get it,” Campbell said.

The competition right now is complicated by the injuries to the position. Jefferson and Ibrahim are currently sidelined, while Reynolds was limited to just individual drills on Monday. That has given Ozigbo and Snell—added just last week—the opportunity to take advantage of the present, as both took plenty of reps during the team’s preseason opener on Friday.

“(Snell) did some good things,” Campbell said. “It is interesting to see these guys and you’re like, ‘Man, he just walked in the door,’ and now all of a sudden you’re just, ‘Get in there.’ But he did, he competed. I thought mentally he was good, there’s – there like anybody else, there’s a few things to clean up, but certainly it wasn’t too much for him. He wasn’t frazzled.”

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • You love to see it.

  • I repeat, you love to see it.

  • Great feature from The Detroit News on a Lions undrafted rookie doing whatever it takes to achieve his dream of playing in the NFL.

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