Embed from Getty Images The hype has found the Detroit before training camp has started. However, Lions fans are the last to fall for such perceived foolishness. Yet, a quick look at Detroit’s new weapons and fans can at least say “what if?”
First things first games are not won or lost on draft day. Neither are games won or lost on paper or media and fans opinions. If they were every NFL team would have won at least one Super Bowl.
To understand more in depth, let’s take a look at the Detroit Lions top two offensive draft picks. Kerryon Johnson drafted in the second round last year, and this years first round draft pick tight end TJ Hockenson.
Both are gifted players. Johnson showed last season he can more than handle the running back job. He proved he is a star in the making. Kerryon Johnson is many experts break-out-player this coming season.
TJ Hockenson, he was brought in to improve the Detroit’s woeful TE position. Hockenson had 49 catches with only 1 dropped pass last season at Iowa. Let that sink in for a moment. he had 49 receptions for over 700 yards and only 1 dropped pass. That is incredible. That is why TJ was a first round draft pick.
Those two players have shown why Detroit is in good shape. Yet, games are not won or with two players. For the Detroit offense to reach the level many believe it can reach, a few things must take place.
The offensive line must be more consistent. In both pass and run blocking. Last seasons they looked good at time, and they looked pitiful other times. The simply will not fly. Quarterback Matthew Stafford , must bounce back from a sup-par season. He will be asked to do less. But when his number is called he must deliver or Detroit will not improve.
Consistency. It is a word coaches and players all say and repeat. No team can have sustained success without it. No mathher how good the players on the roster are or appear to be.
Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Lions have had 12 different leading rushers in the 20 seasons since Barry Sanders retired. So as we weed through the options it goes without saying Barry is still the Lion King.
James Stewart, Kevin Jones, Reggie Bush are just a few names in a long list of running backs who tried to fill the large shoes worn by the last Detroit Lions player to wear number 20.
Flash forward to this past season. A season that saw a Lion running back given an huge honor. Kerryon Johnson, who was just named Lions Rookie of the Year. One thing Johnson played in just 10 games due to a knee injury.
Now fully recovered Kerryon Johnson is said to be ready for the 2019 NFL season. Still playing in only 10 games was a large enough sample size to see the Detroit Lions may finally have stability at a critical position.
Johnson was on pace for over a 1,000 yards rushing. 118 carries for 641 yards and 3 touchdowns are a good start to the young backs career. Kerryon averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
Those numbers allowed Barry Sanders to proclaim “I think he looks promising, I thought he handled himself well. I forgot how many games he played, but out of the rookie running backs he looked as good as any of them.”
Big words from a guy who by some did it better than anyone. The Hall of Famer Sanders, is the Detroit Lions benchmark for all running backs who come through the Motor City. The bar is set high fair or unfair.
It is easy for defenses playing against an offense when they do not have much of a running game. But a solid running game opens the offense up. Suddenly defenses have to play honest and not just blitz or sit back and wait for a pass.
The overall health of an offense is in running game. Always was and always will be. No matter the trends. It is still early. But Kerryon Johnson has the making of being the Detroit Lions running back since the great Barry Sanders. That is high praise.
Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Lions needed to upgrade a woeful running game. In day (actually night two) of the 2018 NFL draft they got a player who can help. A lot.
Kerryon Johnson, drafted out of Auburn University is a smooth runner. He also hits holes quickly. Johnson also is not afraid to lower his shoulders into would be tacklers.
The Detroit Lions, have lacked a bruiser at tail back for some time. Kerryon ends that search. He may also end the playing days of Ameer Abdullah . That is not a bad thing.
Kerryon Johnson, can step in from day one and be an impact back in the Detroit offense. Taking pressure off of quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions, may have just pushed the franchise closer to a championship.
One thing that Johnson, must work on is taking a hand off a go straight into a forward leaning run position. There were times while at Auburn Kerryon Johnson, stood straight up and down and took a beating behind the line of scrimmage.
Over all this is an outstanding pick by Detroit general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. The Detroit Lions, offense is now better balanced with the addition of first round draft pick center Frank Ragnow, and now running back Kerryon Johnson.
Kerryon can handle a heavy work load. He is a solid pass blocker and although he wasn’t asked to catch the ball much out of the backfield. When call upon he delivered.